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^be ©pen Court 

A MONTHLY MAGAZINE 

H)cvotc^ to tbc Science ot IRellaf on, tbe IReliQf on ot Science, anb tbc 
Bxtensfon of tbe IReligious parliament f bea 

Founded by Edward C. Hegeler 



VOL. XXXV (No. 11) NOVEMBER, 1921 NO. 786 



CONTENTS: 

PAGI 

Frontispiece. Henri-Frederic Amiel. 

Henri-Frederic Amiel. Lewis Piaget Shanks 641 

Jesus The Philosopher. Rev. Roland D. Sawyer 658 

Mazdak. Paul Luttinger, M. D 664 

Evolution of Expressed Thought. F. W. Fitzpatrick, 687 

The Meaning of Liberal Study. Henry Bradford Smith 697 

New Altars. Ethel Talbot Scheffauer 702 

Book Reviews 704 



Zhc ©pen Court IPubUsbing Companig 

122 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, Illinois 

Per copy, 20 cents (1 shilling). Yearly, $2.00 (in the U.P.U., 9s. 6d.) 

Entered as Second-Class Matter March 26, 1887, at the Post Office at Chicago, 111., vinder Act of Marcb 
3, 1879. Copyright by The Open Court Publishing Company, 1921. 



TLhc ©pen Court 

A MONTHLY MAGAZINE 

H)eY>ote& to tbe Science ot IReliaion, tbe iRetidion ot Science* anb tbe 
Bitension of tbe IReliaious parliament f bea 

Founded by Edward C. Hegeler 



VOL. XXXV (No. 11) NOVEMBER, 1921 NO. 786 



CONTENTS: 

PACK 

Frontispiece. Henri-Frederic Amiel. 

Henri-Frederic Amiel. Lewis Piaget Shanks 641 

Jesus The Philosopher. Rev. Roland D. Sawyer 658 

Mazdak. Paul Luttinger, M. D 664 

Evolution of Expressed Thought. F. W. Fitzpatrick. 687 

The Meaning of Liberal Study. Henry Bradford Smith 697 

Neiv Altars. Ethel Talbot Scheffauer 703 

Book Reviews 7'04 



Zbc ©pen Court publisbino Companig 

122 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, Illinois 

Per copy, 20 cents (1 shilling). Yearly, $2.00 (in the U.P.U., 9s. 6d.) 



Entered as Second-Class Matter March 26, 1887, at the Post Office at Chicago, lU., under Act of March 
3, 1879. Copyright by The Open Court Publishing Company, 1921. 



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The Open Court 

A MONTHLY MAGAZINE 

Devoted to the Science of Religion, the Religion of Science, and 
the Extension of the Religious Parliament Idea. 

VOL. XXXV (No. 11) NOVEMBER, 1921 NO. 786 
Copyright by the Open Court Publishing Company, 1921. 



HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, 1821-1881. 

BY LEWIS PIAGET SHANKS. 

NOT often are we called upon to record the , centenary of a 
school teacher. It is a melancholy fact that the teacher passes 
like the musician or the actor — though hardly so noisily; and even 
were he a clarion voice as well as a storehouse of the world's ex- 
perience, his reputation dies with the memory of that voice. To 
leave more than a bronze tablet on a wall is given only to the scholar, 
the actor-dramatist, the musical composer: litera scripta manet. 
But the professor of whom we speak left no monument of scholar- 
ship and no mark as a teacher; while the half-dozen little volumes 
of verse which he offered to the Muses fell one by one into oblivion, 
silently as autumn leaves in some frozen abyss of his native Alps. 

Henri-Frederic Amiel was the child of autumn, fated to suffer 
from her early frosts. Born at Geneva, the twenty-seventh of Sep- 
tember, 1821, a son of French parents and a grandson of Huguenot 
refugees, he was destined to lose his mother at the end of 1832, 
his father in mid-autumn of the second year after, and to grow up, 
in his uncle's house, apart from the sisters he dearly loved. Yet 
the education given him was lacking in nothing that seemed need- 
ful to develop a talent already manifest; he traveled for many 
months in Italy and France ; he spent four years in Germany, at 
Heidelberg and in the University of Berlin. At twenty-eight he 
returned, half-loath, to Geneva, won a conconrs for a vacant chair 
in the Academy, and there for more than thirty years he taught 
philosophy, publishing at intervals several short essays and the 
books of verse mentioned above. Never married, knowing the 
joys of a family life only in the house of his sister — where he lived 
for eighteen years — a valetudinarian and a solitary, with few inti- 
mates, wholly unrecognized by cultivated Genevans — who classed 



642 THE OPEX COURT. 

him with the radicals to whom he owed his appointment — -he knew 
all the isolation of the professor, and died as he had lived, ob- 
scure. But he left a journal of K,UOO pages, which friends reduced 
to a thirtieth of its bulk and published as he had directed ; another 
friend, the eminent Swiss critic Scherer, prefixed to this selection 
the essay which planted on an humble grave the laurel of posthu- 
mous fame. Given to the world immediately after his death, 
Amiel's Frai^}iic)ifs d'un Journal Intime prove both the positive 
value of friendship and the potential value of isolation. 

I. 

All confession is interesting, if the writer have the gift of 
original thought, or vivid sensations, or imaginative style. Endowed 
with all these gifts and fusing all in the glow of a high spirituality, 
Amiel fascinates and absorbs the mind curious of other minds. 
For such readers indeed he lives again in his diary, more real and 
more convincing than the personality of many a living friend. Al- 
though a tragedy of impotence, this record is so full of poetry, so 
full of pathos in its self-acknowledged weakness, so imbued with 
idealistic yearning, so heroic in its pictured battle with encroaching 
infirmity, that it cannot leave unimpressed even those of an op- 
posite temperament, as we may see in the case of Matthew Arnold. 
Amiel's was a mind too fine ever to attain popularity, were it pos- 
sible thus to estimate genius. But happily we have not quite 
reached the age when pint-measures may use the right of majorities 
to reject all that they cannot individually contain. 

The Journal Intime is the mirror of a soul, a soul of especial 
distinction, and absolutely sincere. Except in Rousseau's Confes- 
sions, we have nowhere else in modern literature so careful aud 
unsparing a "portrait of the writer". A philosophical spirit, Amiel 
naturally paints a psychological likeness, and the dairy form gives 
us jjrogressive "states" like those of an etching. Let us try to ex- 
hibit the first "state", to see this portrait at thirty, before the 
burin of fate and the aquafortis of thought have ploughed the lines 
of failure there. This is the moment when he returned from 
Germany, "loaded down with knowledge", as Scherer describes 
liim, "but carrying his burden lightly; charming in physiognomy, 
animated in conversation and without all'ectation. Young and alert, 
he seemed to be entering upon his career as a conqueror", to hold all 



IIENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL. 643 

the keys to the future. What lay behind this brilHant exterior may 
be seen in the Journal. 

He came back from Berlin aflame with philosophic idealism, 
dazzled by the infinite vistas of Hegelian thought, rapt in the au- 
gust serenity of days when, rising before the dawn to study or 
meditate, he would light his lamp and go to his desk as to an altar. 
There, he aspired to "look down upon life and himself from the 
farthest star", to view the world sub specie aeterni, secure in the 
consciousness that he too is a part of infinity. But in Geneva he 
found an atmosphere far different from that of university days, an 
atmosphere which would have chilled had it been free from all hos- 
tility. And Amiel, never physically robust, was quick to feel dis- 
couragement. Four days after his examination he writes — pos- 
sibly in doubt as to its issue: "I have never felt the inward assur- 
ance of genius, or a presentiment of glory or happiness." This is 
for him a sign of his incapacity ; his part in life is "to let the living 
live and draw up the testament of his mind and his heart", in a 
diary which may at least justify that life to posterity. 

Yet to him, as to all of us, ambition called. Musing on the 
death of great men he had known, he heard the summons of fate to 
mount the rostrum in his turn. The expedient of a journal was but 
a compromise with his divided impulses, a compromise between the 
artist and the philosopher. It was the sort of postponement of hard 
creative effort one expects from the latter, living his real life in 
books ; with Amiel, the philosopher's passion for speculation in- 
volved a veritable horror of action. Believing that "every hope is 
an egg which may bring forth a serpent instead of a dove", he finds 
reality "repugnant or even terrifying, and the life of ideas alone 
sufficiently elastic, immense, and free from the irreparable." The 
absolute poisons all attainment which falls short of his dream : 
"what might be, spoils for me what is, what ought to be, fills me with 
sadness." 

Thus the idealist justifies a real defect of character, resting 
upon a deeper cause. For like all the imaginative who are not 
gifted with something of Balzac's gross sanguine exuberance, Amiel 
was at heart timid — though he does not admit the word. "I have 
no trust in myself, no trust in happiness, because I know myself." 
To know oneself too well at twenty-seven may prove intellectual 
acumen, but it means despair. The physical force of youth gives 
merciful spectacles of rose-color to most men's eyes, or the world 



644 THE OPEN COURT. 

would cease to exist. Not so with Amiel. "AH that compromises 
tlie future or destroys my inward liberty, all that subjects me to 
things, or that assails my notion of a complete man, wounds me to 
the heart, even in anticipation." Finally, the boundary of thirty 
passed, he comes out frankly. "Responsibility is my nightmare. 
To suffer through one's own fault is a torment of the damned, for 
grief is envenomed by the sense of the ridiculous, and the worst 
of that sense is to shame one in one's own sight." Yes, as he says, 
he expiated his privilege of viewing as a spectator the drama of 
his life, of watching his role upon the stage with the passive self- 
detachment of a mind familiar with the whole tragedy, a mind in the 
confidence of the Author. He will not act in order to preserve his 
freedom, but of what use is a freedom save by abstention from 
living? 

We must not, however, dwell too long upon the shadows of the 
portrait. This is no misanthrope, cloistered in selfishness, but a man 
of heart and sense, vibrant to all the manifold beauty of life, and 
describing his impressions with the warmth of a poet. Like Faust, 
he loves to refresh a soul weary of thought in a bath of nature ; 
the dawn and the night ahke speak to him ; dewy sunrise gives its 
translucent energy to his mind, the starry sky of midnight tells him 
of the infinite of his constant pursuit. Some of these pages are 
prose-poems. "Walked half an hour in the garden in a gentle 
rain", runs one of them. "A landscape of autumn. Sky hung with 
grey enfolded in various tones, mists trailing over the mountains 
of the horizon, the melancholy of nature. The leaves were falling 
on all sides like the last illusions of youth beneath the tears of 
irremediable grief. A brood of chattering birds were chasing each 
other through the shrubberies, and playing games among the 
branches, like a knot of hiding schoolboys. The ground strewn 
with leaves, brown, yellow and reddish, the trees half stripped, 
wearing tatters of dark red, scarlet and yellow, the shrubs and the 
bushes growing russet ; a few flowers lingeriug, roses, nasturtiums 
and dahlias with dripping petals, the bare fields, the thinned hedges, 
the fir-tree alone vigorous green, stoical — eternal youth braving de- 
cay — all these iniiunu'rabk' and inarxclous symbols which forms, 
colors, i)lants and living beings, the earth and the sky, oM'er un- 
ceasingly to the eye which knows how to look : all seemed to me 
filled with charm and significance. I held a poet's wand and had but 



HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL. 645 

to touch a phenomenon to have it tell me its moral symbol. Every 
landscape is a state of the soul." 

His attitude toward nature is in fine a romantic one: in most 
of these pictures one discovers the observer's mind, with its joy or 
its pain or its self-questioning. His sympathy with nature is not 
all-sufficient: at thirty, the approach of May fills him with the 
languors of adolescence. "This morning the poetry of spring, the 
songs of the birds, the tranquil sunlight and the breeze from the 
fresh green fields — all rose within me and filled my heart. Now 
everything is silent. O silence, thou art terrible! Thou showest 
us in ourselves abysses which make us giddy, needs never to be 
satisfied Welcome tempests ! Welcome the storms of pas- 
sion, for the waves they left within us veil the bottomless depths of 
the soul. In all of us, children of dust, eternity inspires an in- 
voluntary anguish, and the infinite a mysterious terror: they seem 
to us like the kingdom of the dead. Poor heart, thou cravest life, 
love, illusions ; and thy craving is right, for life is sacred." All of 
Amiel is seen in this reaction to spring at thirty — the price he paid 
for his monastic intellectual ideal no less than its joys. For he con- 
tinues : *Tn these moments of personal converse with the infinite, 
what a different look life assumes ! We seem to ourselves mere 
marionettes, puppets playing in all seriousness a fantastic show, 
holding gewgaws as things of great worth. Berkeley and Fichte 
are right in such moments, Emerson too ; the world is but an alle- 
gory, the ideal has more reality than the fact ; fairy-stories and 
legends are as true as natural history, and even more true, for they 
are symbols of more transparency. The only real substance is the 
soul : consciousness alone is actual and immortal : the world is but a 
piece of fireworks, a sublime phantasmagoria destined for the soul's 
delight and education. Consciousness is a universe, and its sun 
is love." 

He should of course have married — espoused an active affec- 
tion instead of a journal which made him feel at times as abstract 
as its own pages. Instead of that he only plunged the deeper into 
study and meditation. The page continues : "already I am falling 
back into the objective life of thought. It delivers me — no, say 
rather it deprives me — of the inner life of feeling: reflection dis- 
solves reverie and burns its delicate wings Ah ! let us feel, 

let us live and not analyse for ever. Let life have its way w^ith us. 
. . . . Shall I never have a woman's heart to rest upon? a son in 



646 THE OPEN COURT. 

whom I can live again, a little world where I can let all 1 hide 
within me come to bloom? I draw back in dread, for fear of break- 
ing my dream ; I have staked so much on this card that I dare not 
play it. Let me dream on." 

It is an "ideal" love for which he is reserving himself — "the 
love which shall live by all the soul's forces and in all its fibres". 
Relieving that only such a passion could fix and condense his hopes 
and energies, not finding in his feminine friendships this miracle of 
personal transformation, he waits, "calling for this grave and serious 
love", fearful of "mismating his soul." At thirty and in the material- 
istic eighteen fifties, he still cherishes the romantic dream of an 
elective affinity. In fact his whole mind is incurably dyed in Ro- 
manticism. His melancholy uses at times the very language of La- 
martine : his pessimism that of Obermann. Amiel is at heart one of 
the disenchanted sons of Werther and Rene; like the French Ro- 
manticists, he is a Latin soul poisoned by too much cosmopolitanism 
— by too deep a draught of a heady Northern vintage, unfamiliar 
and toxic to one naturally a dreamer. 

This heritage of Romanticism, no less than his idealistic long- 
ing is a cause of his spiritual isolation. Reaching maturity in the dawn 
of the Age of Science, when man dreamed of solving the riddle 
of life by the conquest of facts, he cannot take to his heart this new 
deity, illumined only by the cold white light of the amor inteUec- 
t Kalis. lie feels the need of a warmer ideal, the lack of a cult and 
a church wherein he may content his whole nature, in a communion 
no longer solitary. "My religious needs are not satisfied", he con- 
fesses, "they are like my need of society and my need of affec- 
tion". He consoled himself by a manly resignation, evolving a sort 
of Christian stoicism. For Amiel the religious view-point alone 
could give dignity to life, energy for living. "One can only con- 
quer the world in the name of Heaven". He means the victory of 
renunciation: even at thirty he shows the lUiddhistic leaning so evi- 
dent in his later years. "Human life is but the i)rei)aration and the 
wav to the life of the spirit. So keep vigil, disciple of life, chrysalis 
of an immortal being; labor for your escape to come. The di\inc 

journey is but a series of metamorphoses ever more ethereal 

A series of successive deaths — that is the life divine." 

Such is Amiel at the end of his third decade: a thinker and a 
poet; a man buried in .self, yet ever seeking escape from feeling in 
the objective world of thought; a student and a dreamer, torn by 



IIENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL. ()47 

the poet's desire for expression, yet fearful of the limitations of 
cold print ; a mystic and an idealist, absorbed in the Absolute and 
disdainful of all else: "nothings finite is true, is interestino^, is worthy 
of fixing- my thoughts." Mis youthful portrait is no figure to in- 
spire commiseration : faults recognized may be corrected or at least 
subdued by a personal adjustment. Rather does he arouse our 
envy of his keenness, of his range of thought, of his imaginative 
power. Where else can we find pages of such a cosmic sweep? 
What would we not give to share his visions, "divine moments, 
hours of ecstasy in which the soul flies from world to world, un- 
ravels the great enigma, breathes as largely, easily and deeply as the 
respiration of the ocean, floats serene and limitless as the blue 
firmament"? At such times, it was his to know "the tranquil in- 
toxication, if not the authority, of genius, in those moments of 
irresistible intuition when a man feels great as the universe and 
calm as a god !" 

II. 

An etching in the "first state", lightly sketched, ethereal, rich in 
possibilities, is a delightful thing, a thing to set one dreaming. But 
the "second state" is more significant, for thereafter lines can 
rarely be added to alter the expression of the drawing. What hap- 
pens to our portrait of Amiel in the next ten years, so vital in every 
life?. What new lines are added by the graver, what shadowy 
promises defined beyond all hope of change, by that long immer- 
sion in the corrosive acid of his thought? 

The lines lacking were recognisable by the artist, although the 
portrait on his easel was his own. No illusion clouded the mirror 
of his introspective vision. Deficient in will, he might have found 
a substitute in imagination and its emotive force, as he in fact 
divined. "What seems impossible to us is often only a quite sub- 
jective impossibility. The soul in us, under the influence of the 
passions, produces by a strange mirage gigantic obstacles, moun- 
tains and abysses which stop us short. Breathe upon the passions 
and that phantasmagoria will vanish." But he feared passion for 
its bottomless gulf, its vertigo. "Our liberty floats wavering over 
this void which is always seeking to engulph it. Our only talisman 
is our concentrated moral force, the conscience." Timidity and a 
protestant conscience are the bonds of his inhibition. 



648 THE OPEN COURT, 

His timidity it was that kept liim from marrying, in his mid- 
dle thirties, the muse so deeply regretted in the sonnet beginning: 
"Tout m'attirait versttoi". 

Que n'cut pas fait alors la tendresse, 6 Sirene! 
De tout ce qui languit dans mon coeur soucieux? 
Ton amour m'cut donne tout, meme le genie ! 
Ouand il vernait a moi. pourquoi I'ai-je evite? 
Helas! c'est un secret de tristesse infinie. 
L'efTroi de ce que j'aime est ma fatahte: 
Je n'ai compris que tard cette loi d'ironie. . . . 
Le Bonheur doit m'avoir, tout jeune, epouvante ! 

Tills was the one serious love of his life, regretted ever after- 
wards by the lover who had not dared to decide. But he celebrated 
the lady's marriage in fitting verses before he returned to his books, 
in a home where a sister's love and the presence of two little 
nephews mitigated his loneliness. After all it was a spiritual lone- 
liness, and he knew now% that souls w^ere in their inner essence, im- 
penetrable to other souls. At forty, his solitary fate is sealed ; he 
was to have many feminine friendships and yet remain a Platonist ; 
even the loss of his home and the machinations of wnly friends are 
of no avail. He notes in his diary: "I whose whole being — heart 
and intellect — thirsts to aljsorb itself in reality, I whom solitude 
devours, shut myself up in solitude and seem to take pleasure only 
in my own mind". According to his own confession, he has let 
his life be set upside down by his spiritual pride and his timidity; 
he is "a victim of that instinct of death which works continually to 
destroy that which wishes to live". He has become the slave of 
his Calvinistic denial of life. 

Nor does the ideal task, longed for as ardently as the ideal mate, 
present itself to this temporiser, although these ten years saw the 
publication of two of his six little volumes of moral and philo- 
.sophical verse, lii tlic first arc found a collection of Pensees — ex- 
tracted from his journal — which had he known it, showed him his 
real path. b'.xteiKk'd and given a more i^ersonal note, the note first 
struck b\- Konssean and repeated ad iiausraiii in modern "confes- 
sions", these i)ages would have given him cek'brity at once. But 
such a self-revelation during his life-time is ini[)ossible to imagine. 
"(Juand k' rOxe est (li\in, la reserve est sacree." The poet, like the 



IIENRI-FREDEKIC AMIEL. G4l) 

potential lover, fears to speak out. He devotes himself to technique, 
preferring short lines and intricate verse-forms, which provide dif- 
ficulties to overcome and "turn his attention from his feeling to 
his artistry". Shy and timid, he can only "practice scales" ; para- 
lyzed by conscience in the guise of literary scrupulousness, he can 
only put off from day to day the masterpiece he dreams of. The 
analysis of his infertility concludes, sadly, "I can divine myself, 
but I do not approve of myself." The reader wonders if the epi- 
gram he sharpens against the presumption of so-called latent gen- 
ius — "what does not come into being, was nothing"— shows con- 
fidence in destiny so much as a realization of a fancied mediocrity. 

All confession is dangerous, even to a diary, for the mere act 
of giving expression to a fault in a way absolves. That is the price 
man extracts from his self-respect. When Amiel ascribes his ter- 
ror of action to timidity and his timidity to an abuse of reflection 
which has destroyed his spontaneity, when he speaks of his vul- 
nerability to pain, his incurable doubt of the future, his feeling of 
"the justice and not the goodness of God" (oh Calvinist!) — he 
does not forget a sort of idealist's apologia. "Might it not be", 
says the casuist, "might it not be at bottom my infinite self-respect, 
the purism of perfection (!) an incapacity to accept our human con- 
dition, a tacit protest against the order of the world, which is the 
centre of my inertia? It is the Whole or nothing. Titanic ambition 
made inactive through disgust, the nostalgia of the ideal, offended 
dignity and wounded pride which refuse all homage to things they 
feel beneath them ; it is irony .... it is mental reservation ... it 
is perhaps disinterestedness through indifference .... it is weak- 
ness which, knows not how to conquer itself and will not be con- 
quered, it is the isolation of a disenchanted soul which abdicates even 
hope. Our highest aspirations prevent us from being happy." 

Even the word "weakness" is not too unflattering, provided it 
"will not be conquered". But why blame Amiel for any illusion 
which helped him to live? Would that the perception of his own 
subtlety, seen in the notes of October, 1853, had given him the 
illusions of vanity and confidence, saved him from always meas- 
uring his inferiority with others' accomplishment and urged him 
to write some book of objective scholarship. He did revise his 
lectures constantly, keeping up with all the new publications in both 
French and German, but metaphysics merely exaggerates faults like 
his, and increase of knowledge brings only sorrow. "La tristesse 



650 THE OPEN COURT. 

>oucieuse augmente". he notes so earlv as 1858. l<"inally the result 
of all this study and speculation, unmixed with any tonic creative 
effort, is for him a sort of evaporation t)f the self: he complains 
that yesterday is as distant as last year, that all his days are merged 
and lost in his memory, like water poured into a lake; he feels 
"stripped and empty, like a convalescent (who remembers noth- 
ing-".) "I pass gently into my tomb, still living. I feel as it were 
the peace of annihilation and the dim quiet of Nirvana. Before me 
and within me I experience the swift flow of the river of time, the 
gliding past of life's impalpable shadows, and I feel it with the 
tranquility of a trance". As he admits, this pleasure is deadly, it is 
slow suicide. So, at forty, he comes to the realization that self- 
criticism had not helped him as a literary training, (as he had 
hoped). Like Psyche's, his curiosity is punished by the flight of 
the beloved. The mind must work on things external or destroy 
itself. When he writes: "par I'analyse je me suis annule", we may 
already divine the Amiel of five years later, surprised at his sur- 
\ival through all his disillusion. "And yet I read, I speak. I teach. 
I write. But no matter, it is as a sleep-walker may do". He is 
become a ghost in a world of living men. 

III. 

You have seen those etchings whose margins are enriched by 
a multitude of little sketches, expressive heads, exquisite glimpses 
of trees or lakes, wherein the artist records some personal truth or 
fancy of the moment. The "final state" of our portrait, with its 
deeply bitten shadows, the darkened face now turned towards 
eternity and lighted only by faith, with eyes resigned but still re- 
gretful of lost youth and its dreams, with lips set by a ten-year 
struggle against infirmity, ma\- l)e for a time laid aside, in order to 
consider the cameos of criticism and landscape which distract the 
etcher's eye and mind from a ]jortrait seen too closely. After all 
ihcv prove his iiilcllcclual io\s and liis coninmnion with nature; 
life is never .so dark as one paints it in a library, in a student's cell. 
Life is never so hopeless as when one is examining one's conscience, 
and Amiel. re-reading a section of his journal, is surprised at the 
gloom he has dilTused over the portrait. We must remember what 
he often lcll> us, that writing down his sadness dispelled it. Nor 
must we forget that otlu-r porir;iit of llic i)hilosopher-poct left us 



HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL. (ISl 

by his pupil and biographer,* — the amiable old gentleman who loved 
to read poetry to his fellow-vacationers, and even to compose 
acrostics for the ladies. There was another resource against mel- 
ancholy: "le plus petit talent pent etre d'un grand bien". How 
much this love of versifying meant to him may be seen in the mere 
bulk of his volumes. Nor are they throughout so mediocre as has 
been asserted ; his rhymed translations are faithful re-creations of 
the original ; even his occasional verses are clever ; and once, when 
the mailed fist of Prussia seemed to threaten his fatherland, in 1857, 
his inspiration gave the Swiss a national hymn, "Roulez, tambours". 
Not passionate enough to write many pages of real poetry, he found 
in the brief life of the dragon-fly and the fleeting glories of soap- 
bubbles symbols which fill him with a breath of genuine poetic 
feeling; one w^ould like to quote the latter entire: 

Perle que traverse le jour, 
Qu' emplit I'orageuse esperance, 
Au chalumeau qui te balance, 
S'enfle ton ravissant contour ; 
Et tout un tourbillon de choses 
Roule en mon ame, et je revois 
Passer, comme aux jours d'autrefois. 
La ronde des metamorphoses 

Bulles de savon, globes d'air, 

Illusions d'or et de flamme, 

\'ous charmez Toeil, vous touchez Tame, 

Aous humiliez le coeur fier. 

Que faibles sont nos difl^erences 

D'avec vous, hochets gracieux ! 

Nous nous prenons au serieux 

Et nous sommes des apparences 

Et quand, sous un coup d'eventail. 
La bulle, s'ouvrant afi^olee, 
S'eparpille en une volee 
De spherules au vif email. 
Alors, sous les voutes profondcs 
Du ciel, ou I'universe germa, 
Alors nous croyons voir Brahma, 
Brahma jouant avec les mondes. 
*Mlle. Berthe Vadier: Etude Biogrophique, Paris, 1886. 



653 THE OPEN COURT. 

It is true that he dallied overlong with difficult rythyms, after 
the example of Gautier, but as he says, "reussir rafraichit, et 
creer met en joie". Had he written only for himself, he would still 
have found verse a greater consolation than his diary, for in the 
squirrel-cage of introspection the mind which stops to view its prog- 
ress always finds itself at the bottom of the arc. The artist has, 
however, another mode of escape from hypochondria, as the journal 
shows. A country road, a glimpse of a city park, a tree drooping 
leafy branches over a red brick wall is itself a talisman if beheld 
with a poet's eyes. And such certainly were Amiel's. A June morn- 
ing makes him joyous as a butterfly; never does he fail to note the 
coming of spring and his response to the rising sap. Even the year 
before he died, he sets down with delight the quality of the spring 
sunlight and air, the song of the birds, the special timber of dis- 
tant sounds, a youthful, springlike note. "It is indeed a Renais- 
sance The Ascension of our Saviour is symbolized by this 

flowering forth of nature in a heavenward aspiration I feel 

myself born again; my soul looks out through all its windows". 
Scarcely less loved are the effects of autumn, in which he distin- 
guishes the vaporous dreamy landscape and the scene full of living 
color. This season tells him that he too is entering into the autumn 
of life, but that October also has its beauty. One is not surprised 
that a poet's pictures of summer are fewer, yet here is one which 
must be cited entire: 

"Returned late beneath a deep sky magnificently filled with 
stars, while fires of silent lightnings flashed behind the Jura. In- 
toxicated with poetry and overwhelmed with sensations I walked 
slowly home, blessing the God of life and sunk in the beatitude of 
the infinite. One thing alone was lacking — a soul to share it with, 
for emotion overflowed from my heart as from a cup too full. The 
Milky Way, the great black poplars, the ripple of the waves, the 
shooting stars, the distant singing, the city with its lights, all spoke 

to mc in a divine language; I felt myself almost a poet My 

God, liow wretched we should be without beauty! With it, all is 
rfbdin wilhin u^, the senses, the imagination, the heart, the reason, 
the will What is happiness, if not this plcntiludc of exis- 
tence, this intimate harmony with the life of the universe and of 
God ?" 

Many a page of the diary might be set beside this prose noc- 
turne, for the night speaks to the philosopher no less than to the 



HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL. G53 

]:)oet. A star-filled sky is to him a concrete glimpse of the Absolute ; 
lie is "God's guest in the temple of the infinite", he feels the earth 
floating like a skiff beneath him on that ocean of blue." He marks 
the effect of cloudless moonlight on the mountains: "A grave ma- 
jestic night. The troop of giant Alps is sleeping, watched by the 
stars. Through the vast shadows of the valley sparkle a few roofs, 
while the eternal organ-note of the torrent booms through this 
cathedral of mountains vaulted by the starry sky". He prefers the 
Alps wrapped in the glamour of rolling mists, as he prefers a rainy 
landscape or a day of silver fog. There he can enjoy a concen- 
tration of his timid personality, dispersed and annihilated under the 
flaming sunlight of midsummer afternoons. The everlasting on- 
rush of nature's energy appals him ; but how fine his picture of Lake 
Leman, "serenely melancholy, unvaried, lustreless and calm, with 
the mountains and clouds reflecting in it their monotony and their 
cold pallor." The lake tells him "that a disillusioned life may be 
lighted by duty, by a memory of heaven", speaks to him of "the 
flight of all things, of the fatality of every life, of the melancholy 
which lies beneath the surface of all existence, but also of the 
depths beneath their moving waves". After all he is essentially 
elegiac, taking his pleasures in the romantic fashion, a little sadly. 
Is great sensitiveness ever joined to a bluff pagan virility? One 
must not ask a poet for incompatible qualities, and Amiel's harp is 
capable of effects unknown to the bards of bass-drum and bassoon. 

In fine, nature is for him a book of symbols, vocal with mean- 
ing, plain to his inner vision. The hoar-frost in the November 
woods, turning the spider-webs among the fir-branches into little 
fairy-palaces, suggests to him the spirit of the Northern literatures, 
the vaporous lines of Ossian, the Edda and the Sagas. "Each ele- 
ment has its poetry, he says somewhere, "but the poetry of the air 
is liberty". He has the vision of a child — unblurred by use and 
wont; he has the sensitivity of the musician, and music is to him "a 
reminiscence of Paradise". There are some fine pages of musical 
criticism in the Journal ; the best are certainly the comparisons of 
Mozart with Beethoven. These pages show clearly his nice balance 
between a love of classical form and a joy in romantic expressive- 
ness. 

But Amiel as a critic is better portrayed through his literary 
judgments, more numerous and of wider range. He would have 
made a successful critic, could he have forgotten philosophic love 



654 THE OPEN COURT. 

of synthesis and abstraction long enough to clothe his admirable 
summaries with the tlesh and blood we recjuire in a portrait. His 
sympathies are very catholic ; he possesses that faculty of intel- 
lectual metamorphosis, of entering into the soul of the writer, which 
he rightly calls tlic tir>t faculty of the critic ; he understands types 
so dilt'erent as Montesquieu and Alfred de Vigny, penetrates alike 
the spirit of Goethe and Eugenie de Guerin. He shows the French 
love of form, of style — the classical inheritance — and knows half 
of LaFontaine's fables by heart. But he lays an unerring finger on 
the pompous artificiality of Corneille's heroes, puppets galvanised 
by rhetoric, "roles rather than men". He prefers Racine and 
Shakespeare — a pairing which proves the breadth of his classicism. 
Significantly, he fails to mention Moliere, being too subjective to 
enjoy the comic; his omission of Rabelais further evinces his deli- 
cacy of taste. Taste makes him conscious of the lack of elegance 
and distinction in that master of Swiss writers, Rousseau ; hailing 
Jean-Jacques as a precursor in every type of literature, he indicts 
his work for its sophistry, its abuse of paradox and its morbidity. 
Paul and \^irginia, on the other hand, or Lamartine's Jocelyn, make 
him thrill with tender emotion ; at heart he is mildly Romantic. 
With all his generation he admires Rene, but not its author, and he 
blames Victor Hugo for his spasmodic eloquence, his lack of meas- 
ure, taste and sense of the comic. To be merely dazzled or blinded 
does not impress him ; he prefers the mountain to the volcano, the 
beautiful to the sublime, and Alfred de Vigny to the chief of the 
hrench Romanticists. 

A similar type, one might object. But Eugenie de Guerin is 
also a similar type to his own, and with all his sympathy for her 
work Amiel finally rejects it for its narrow intellectual horizon. 
Xo, he loves Vigny for his classical reserve : sensibility does not 
bandage his eyes to the really great. He admires Goethe, especially 
in Faust which he calls the "spectre of his consciousness", but he 
cannot approve an Olympian egoism for which charity and love of 
humanity are non-existent. His taste finds repellent the algebraic 
stillness and chemical formulas of Taine's style, but when he hears 
the I'Venchman lecture he notes his qualities of simplicity, objec- 
tivity and love of truth. Taste makes him prefer Renan's more 
elegant pen, except when it touches the figure of Christ, and his 
constant moral ])reoccui)ation rejects all the literature of Natural- 
ism for its cynical physiological attitude toward man and his ideals. 



HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL. 655 

Taste leads him to prefer Art to Science, a fine page to the dis- 
covery of a new fact. But his taste is cosmopolitan, and dominated 
by pure ideahsm. A citizen of a republic, he points out relentlessly 
the moral levelling of democracy, characterizes equality as "a hate 
masquerading as love". His cosmopolitanism shows no preferences 
— the idealist can see the defects of every race. He has the inde- 
pendence of so many of the greater minds in small countries ; he is 
never swept away by mass-judgments. Far from Paris and London 
and Berlin, the critic has the right of self-determination. If this 
timid dreamer failed in practical life because his love of liberty 
held him aloof from action, in his diary too that spirit of freedom 
glows as brightly as when it led his ancestors to a haven in 
Switzerland. 

IV. 

This is fundamental, and it explains Renan's failure to under- 
stand a writer who was after all French only in language and 
artistic preferences. Born in Geneva, Amiel is Genevan by a prot- 
estant conscience which insists on thinking for itself ; and hke 
Scherer, he remains a protestant even in his criticism.. His phi- 
losophy and his cosmopoHtanism — the impress of his travels and his 
study abroad — save him from the religious intolerance of Calvin- 
ism ; he knows not the suspicion of others, the hard irony of his 
fellow-Genevan Rousseau. Both Amiel and Jean-Jacques lack the 
practical character of the typical Genevan : both are discontented 
idealists, descendants of those who from the sixteenth century gave 
to this city of refuge the name of "cite des mecontents". But his 
discontent is lifted above Rousseau's by a purer vision, a greater 
spirituality. Finally, both are Genevan in their lack of Gallic van- 
ity and in that Swiss pride which quietly disdains opinion : both tao 
are essentially and profoundly religious. 

This is the side which comes ever more to the front as the 
Journal progresses to its end. However deeply he plunges into 
philosophy, seeking in vain a harmony of science and religion, de- 
.spite his dallyings with the nihilistic systems of Schopenhauer and 
von Hartmann, he always finds a way to justify the faith and the 
revelation of God which he feels within. A protestant desire to 
solve for himself and with his own reason the riddle of the universe. 
a Celtic imagination which loves his nialadie de lidcal underlie in 



65G THE -OPEN COURT. 

him that German passion for speculation which repels his critics — 
a trait whose only value, Bourg-et remarks, is to show us how the 
mind spins from its own substance the spider-webs of a philosophic 
system. A Catholic, he would have escaped all this disquiet, felt no 
dread of responsibility, found his imagination satisfied and his 
heart at peace. Does he not criticise his church for its want of 
sympathy, of "suavite religieuse," of mystical sense? A former 
Catholic, he would have fallen quietly, like Renan. into the Temple 
of Science and the joys of an intellectual dilettanteism. 

But no ! he must work out the problem personally, by the 
methods he has learned in protestant Prussia. And being a poet 
and a mystic, he often falls into the language of mysticism. With 
this, Matthew Arnold has little patience, and by the simple means 
of cutting from their context sentences almost untranslatable, con- 
trives to present a portrait of the man which almost makes him 
a candidate for the mad-house. But it is palpably foolish to blame 
a professor of philosophy for thinking about his subject and for 
using its vocabulary ; why should he not seek a living relation be- 
tween the things he teaches and the life he has to live? Why should 
a philosopher refrain from philosophizing? One concludes that too 
many enthusiasts had asked Arnold if he had read Amiel, and that 
the aged critic resented their excessive praise. In any case Arnold 
did not read the book in his youth, so to contemn the fire of ideal- 
ism which burns through the smoke of over-mystical pages. Those 
who came across the Journal in the last fifteen years of the nine- 
teenth century found in that heaven-mounting flame and smoke the 
symbol of their own spiritual inquietude, an inquietude common 
to every soul left stranded by "the bankruptcy of science.'' From 
beyond the tonil) Amiel spoke to the future, to tlie youth of a new 
generation, and to them he still speaks of a time no longer dream 
but memory. 

hVjr himself the vision was at once the torture and the joy of 
his life, and if he paid for it, as all things must be paid for, by 
moments of despair, this dream merged at last into the vision 
divine: he did not die unreconciled with Cod. His resignation, his 
con.sciousness of increasing infirmity, his very despair were but 
stages in his progress toward a final goal, lie died in peace and 
without regret, like a stoic or a Christian saint. He sleeps now 
in that Infinite for whicli he thirsted; he is one with the earth which 
lu- lovrd ill its tendiT April l)rautv and in the rich pall of its \intage 



HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL. 657 

purple. He has proved the truth of the Spanish proverb that no 
evil lasts a century: no hay malo qui dure cien afws. 

He did not succeed in finding his literary form — the real touch- 
stone of genius, and failing in this, lacked the crown of approval 
which confers the kingship of faith in self. But how many of his 
lesser brothers, how many of those who have vainly hitched their 
wagon to a star, are drawn to him by these almost lyric struggles 
of a poet's impotence? Success would have destroyed his self- 
doubt, made him a different man : and nothing is sadder than his 
'omnis moriar , three months before he died. But he was too clear- 
sighted not to see that destiny can shatter us by accomplishing our 
desires no less than by refusing them, as he tells us on the last page 
of his Journal. "He who wills only what God wills, escapes both 
catastrophes. Everything turns out to his good." The faith of 
his death-bed recalls Dante's line : "In la sua voluntad e nostra pace." 

A failure? Perhaps all lives are failures judged in the light 
and glory of those youthful ideals which Amiel never quite laid 
aside. The practical man achieves only a practical success, and the 
pursuit of the practical pushed to its limits resulted in the world- 
war. Better than that — if we must choose an extreme — an imprac- 
tical goal, a goal among the clouds, better even Nirvana and the 
Wheel of Illusion, however such a search for the infinite be de- 
cried by Occidental pragmatists. Better to return now and again 
to Amiel, if one feel oneself in danger of forgetting the days when 
one knew how to dream, when one was capable of being touched by 
dreams like his. 



JESUS THE PHILOSOPHER. 

THE GREAT TEACHER WAS A MAN IN MIDDLE LIFE AND OF 
PHILOSOPHICAL TEMPER RATHER THAN A RE- 
LIGIOUS ENTHUSIAST BARELY TURNED 
THIRTY YEARS OF AGE, 

BY REV. ROLAND D. SAWYER. 

WITH a thousand-fold more books written about Jesus than of 
any other figure in history, and with hundreds of thousands 
of preachers and teachers giving their lives to the study of his life, 
it at first seems venturesome to suggest any revolutionary teachings 
about the Great Galilean ; but let us remember that theology holds its 
cramping hand on the minds of these many preachers and teachers, 
and over the authors of these many books. It is as recent as 186 > 
that the first book was written about Jesus, which treats him as an 
historic, and not as a theological, figure. Kenan's Life of Jcstts 
was the first attempt to interpret Jesus as an historical figure, and 
it had tremendous intiuence in reviving interest in Jesus as a real 
man among men. What we speak of as the Reformation made no 
study of Jesus ; even as a theology, it created no Christology ; it 
accepted the views of the church without question. A\'riters and 
teachers of the Reformed churches were theological rather tliau 
scientific in their aims, and we could ex])ect no new light to come 
forth from their work. 

Renan sketches the figure of Jesus as he found it in older 
writings, and he gives us a young, enthusiastic, religious leader of 
rare personal charm, who easily drew about himself sincere disciples. 
This Jesus was a poet, a dreamer, a seer, a sort of larger Shelley. 
In til- main, sciciilifu- li\es of jcsus since Renan, have followed his 
outline. The only variation has come from the socialistic lives of 
Jesus, where we sec 11 im as a fiery, young revolutionist; a man of 
utttT niist'Hi^hncss, (k'\()lc'(l to the ideal of freeing tlic opjux'ssed ; 
in the hands of this class of writers Jesus becomes a larger l\ol)ert 
l-'mmet, ready to go to the cross for the poor and weak. 



JESUS THE PIIILOSOPTIER. (I-^iO 

Jesus was a poet, a dreamer ; He was unselfish and willing to 
die for the poor and weak ; and He was more than these things — 
He was a wise, well-balanced teacher ; a man of over forty years, 
who had watched life closely, brooded, reflected, learned wisdom 
by patience and experience, and thus we have in Him not only the 
supreme literary genius, the hero to honor, we have in Him the 
teacher from whom we may learn forever ; the philosopher who 
tells us of ourselves and our problems. 

No one reading the gospels would for a moment think that the 
sayings therein collected and attributed to Jesus, were the words 
of a young man. They are not. They give us the mature thinking 
of a man of mature years ) they are not unlike the words of the 
greater moralists and philosophers of classic Greece and Rome. 
The calm, patient treatment of the situation which Jesus uses in 
the incident recorded in Luke vii. 36-50, is that of the man of mid- 
dle life rather than that of the young man. Most of what Jesus 
says is entirely un-natural if we think of him as a young man. 

Again it is an un-natural thing for a young man to gather about 
himself a group of older disciples. All the teachers of ancient 
Hebrew-land, of Greece and Rome, were men of mature years, who 
gathered disciples who were younger. Probably the only disciple 
in Jesus' group, that was near His own age, was Peter ; this per- 
haps accounts for the position of authority which Peter held. 

And again Jesus is more than all other of ancient teachers, 
closely associated with women; they supported Him, were His 
friends and followers ; His relations with these women seem to be 
such as we would find in a man of forty-five, rather than in a man 
of thirty. 

The enthusiasm of radical German scholarship for the views 
of Weiss and Schweitzer quite led astray the scientific scholarship of 
the Christian world. These men held the view that Jesus was an 
enthusiastic exponent of Jewish Apocalyptic conceptions — that His 
own conception was to announce Himself as the Messiah and that 
the eschatological kingdom was at hand. It is evident that the 
Jewish followers of Jesus who originated the churches, shaped a 
gospel to preach, and edited the gospel records in the form we nov/ 
have them, did believe that Jesus was the Messiah. But a careful 
and critical selection from the gospel-records of the words and 
ideas of Jesus, does not verify any such view. The original form 
of Matthew, as best we may reconstruct it. has no messianic con- 



600 THE OPEN COURT. 

ception. l)Ut is a collection of lofty, moral philosophy and religious 
trust. And in Mark, which is probably little changed by later 
hands that the author, there is very little which connects Jesus with 
the Apocalyptic Messiah. And one of the sayings of Jesus, brought 
down without change apparently, (Mark xii-35) shows that Jesus 
rejected messianic conceptions as the Jews held them, and did not 
regard Himself as the Messiah. Such history of Palestine as we 
may find, and especially the works of Josephus, show to us that in 
Jesus' day there were varying streams of lives meeting in the best 
thought of the serious-minded. Roman religion, Persian cults, 
(ireek philosophy, all had sent their ideas into the general stream. 
While the Hebrews refused to mingle their religious ideas with 
those of Romans and oriental cults and Greek mythology, yet how 
far they accepted Greek philosophical views is seen by the work of 
Philo and the Wisdom literature. 

Jesus went with this group. He sought to modify prevailing 
Messianic conceptions ; He thanked God that the larger light had 
been given Him. (Matt. xi. 2T-29) ; He was a wandering philosophi- 
cal teacher; His first followers were disciples, and while later follow- 
ers taught Him as the Messiah, and put Messianic claims into their 
accounts of His sayings, it is quite evident from the writings of 
Justin the Martyr, and the Gospel of John, that there were many of 
His followers who still upheld Jesus the Philosopher, rather than 
Jesus the Messiah. 

Freeing our minds from the theology of the early disciples, 
the church of the centuries, the pre-conceptions of modern critics, 
we find that an unprejudiced reading of the records, would seem 
to indicate that Jesus was a man who had reached middle life at 
least. Let us now examine the direct question of His age as we may 
find light thrown upon it in these records. The only direct refer- 
ence to His age which is made either by Himself, or by a contem- 
j)orary, is when in a controversy with the Jews, they rebuke Him 
1)\- saying. "Thou art not yet fifty years old". Such a statement is 
unnatural unless Jesus were in the decade between forty and fifty: 
had he been under forty they would not have thus spoken. All gospel 
accounts state that Jesus took up the work of John, began his jnib- 
iic ministry, when John was cast into prison for protesting against 
Herod's marriage to Herodias. Recent dates in Latin history seem 
to fix that marriage as in the year 34. Accordingly Jesus ceased 
to be tlic village rabbi, and became the itinerant teacher soon after. 



JESUS THE I'HlLOSOl'IlEk. G61 

Pilate was recalled in 37, hence Jesus could not have been crucified 
later than 36, and we can put the time of His public ministry be- 
tween 34 and 36. 

A date for Jesus' birth as early at least as 8 B. C. has a growings 
number of supporters. Only by putting the birth early can we 
establish the historic chracter of the account in Luke. Luke says 
the birth of Jesus was "when Quirinius was governor." Roman 
history puts Quirinius in Syria 10 — 8 B. C. Or taking Jewish his- 
tory and reckoning back from the service of the priests as we have 
it for the year 70 A. D. reckoning back to the course of Abijah, to 
which Zacharias belonged, and to whom came the first intimation 
of the events leading up to Jesus' birth a few months later, we come 
to July in the year 9 B. C. Clement of Alexandria puts the birth 
of Jesus as in the year 9-8 ; Tertullian says it was when Sentius 
Saturninus was governor : Sentius was for a while co-governor with 
Quirinius, and displaced him in the year 8 B. C. Thus it is evi- 
dent that the early fathers accepted the early date for Jesus' birth. 

Accepting this early date for the birth of Jesus we can not get 
away from the fact that Jesus in the days of His ministry was over 
forty years of age. Looking further into the testimony of the 
fathers as to the age of Jesus during His ministry we find that 
Irenaeus says that Jesus was forty years of age when He sent out 
the disciples, and Clement working out a careful chronology ac- 
cepts the statement without question. How then arose the popular 
error of thinking Jesus was barely turned thirty at the time of His 
ministry. It comes from the statement of the gospel that Jesus was 
about thirty years of age when He was baptized by John. Believ- 
ing John's ministry to have been unimportant and of a few months 
duration, the rest followed. Dean Alford carefully points out that 
the general statement "being about thirty years of age", admits of 
much latitude either way ; that Jesus might have been thirty-two or 
twenty-eight. The gospel-record gives much prominence to John, 
and Jesus pays him splendid tribute. Jewish estimates give good 
space to the work of John, and Josephus indicates his ministry cov- 
ered a considerable time. Hence the truth seems to be, that John's 
ministry covered a space of perhaps ten years ; that Jesus was bap- 
tized and became a follower of John when about thirty, during 
which time He was a follower of John, and that in 34 when John 
was imprisoned, He moved to Capernaum and entered His ministry. 



662 THE OPEN' COURT. 

'i'his would throw li.^lit uiion Clement's statement that the ministry 
of Jesus was over ten vears in duration. 

Again there are instances in the records where Jesus appears 
to he older tiian His disciples. At the well of Samaria He rests 
and waits while His disciples go into the village for food ; he was 
unable to bear His cross where younger men carried the heavy 
beams ; He died on the cross in a few hours ; all of which things 
shows Him to ha\e been a man past the vitality of thirty years of 
age. 

We may thus safely conclude that Jesus was no youthful re- 
former ; he was a man of mature years and experience ; a far-see- 
ing, prophetic soul : in fact a philosopher who walks with Socrates, 
Lao-Tze. Buddha, Confucius, Seneca. Zoroaster — only He is far 
ahead of them all. He stands unique among the greater teachers of 
mankind. His insight was clearer. His teachings more scientific, 
His ethics more lofty, His views more definite. His literary style 
superior to all other teachers, ancient or modern. The clearness of 
definition in those short moral epigrams which we call beatitudes, 
the beauty and appeal in the parables, the alertness in discussion, 
the power of his moral judgments to stand unquestioned after 
centuries — these stamp Jesus as the greatest of moralists. Franklin. 
Jefferson. Goethe, Emerson, Carlyle, Thoreau were all right in 
speaking of Jesus as the great moral philosopher. Jesus lived a 
limited experience, but He faced all the great questions of human 
life; and while His wisdom has its limits, yet His mind was so 
keen and His insight so deep, that He never faltered from speaking 
eternal truth about the bigger things of life. In the intellectual 
courts of the world Jesus must be accepted as the wisest we have 
known, and the wisest men among us in various generations have 
been those who most closely followed Him; Benedict, Francis, Fox, 
Tolstoy, these men have been our wisest leaders. Looking at Jesus 
as a man, and not as a theological entity, we must admit that His 
philosophy is the truest, and has power to best influence men, and 
when men accept it they li\e human life at its best. 

We protestants in our ignoring the Apocrypha, forget that 
ancient Hebrewism developed a philosophical movement as well 
as a religious movement. The "Wisdom" literature which grew 
with great power after the return from the exile, was largely a i)hilo- 
sophic movement, in which the thoughts of foreign philosophers 
modify the ancient Hebrew religion. j'he book of Sirach is dis- 



JESUS THE PHILOSOPHER. W)'-) 

tinctly the work of a philosophical moralist ; and the fourth book of 
Maccabees shows us a pious Hebrew giving heed to philosophy. In 
the Greek translation of the Apocrypha the words of Plato "nous" 
and "sophia" are used. The controversy which raged in Germany 
over the Apocrypha, was finally decided against admitting the books 
into the evangelical canon, because they were philosophical. Andre, 
the French scholar, said (1903) "The wisdom writings are the first 
attempt at a systematic Jewish philosophy". Philo was profoundly 
influenced by the work of philosophical writers, and if Philo — why 
not Jesus? We may conclude then, that in the time of Jesus, intel- 
lectual Hebrews were turning philosophy to become the handmaid 
of religion. The "Wisdom" writings were bringing an influence 
down alongside the work of the prophets and the olden code. Jesus 
became the fairest flower of this movement. He not only reached 
higher in idealism and trust than any of the olden prophets, but 
he reached down deeper into the soul in his philosophical thinking, 
and hence his teachings become for the world of men, not only our 
highest development of religious aspiration, but they are as well, our 
truest philosophy of life. 



MAZDAK. 

The Persian Bolshevik of the sixth century, whose teachings had a far- 
reaching influence upon the economic, political and 
religious life of Western Asia. 

BY PAUL LUTTIXGER, M. D. 
I. 

IX the colorful and riotous history of Asia, there are few events 
which surpass Mazdakism in significance and timely interest. 
And among the great leaders who stood at the crib, if not at the 
cradle of civilization, there were not manv endowed with a more 
magnetic personality and whose end was more tragic than that of 
Mazdak, the son of Bamdad. To this day, his teachings still find 
expounders and disciples among the Persians and Arabs ; and the 
readiness with which Central and Western Asia is embracing the 
tenets of Russian Bolshevism could be traced to the profound im- 
pression made by the Persian Communists of the sixth century. 
Archeological findings, as far west as Tripoli, show the extent of 
Mazdakian propaganda and the high place which Mazdak's name 
occupied among the Gnostics of the West, might explain the in- 
filtration of communist ideas among the Bohemian and other 
mediavel sects of Central Europe. 

Yet, nothing is more pathetic than the heavy shroud of oblivion 
which has settled upon Mazdakism and the widespread ignorance 
concerning one of the phenomenal epochs in the history of civiliza- 
tion which prevails among modern European and American students. 
A gigantic political, economic and religious movement which 
rocked tlie foundations of the powerful Persian Empire of the 
Sassanides and the Abassides and drew into its tumultuous vortex 
the largest i)art of Western .Asia, remains unmentioned in our text- 
books of lli^tory. 'i'hc I'jicyclopcdias do not devote any special 
articles to Mazdak. and the Britannica only mentions his name in a 
casual way, under Persia. To complete tliis conspiracy of silence, 
Mazdakism is completely omitted- from the .'^Indents" abridged 



MAZDAK 665 

edition of Gibbon's History of tbe Decline and Fall of the Roman 
Empire (Wm. Smith, LL. D., Editor, American Book Co.) under 
the specious pretext that "the theological disputes of the oriental 
sects" would not interest the student. 

Theological disputes, forsooth ! One might as well refer to 
Russian Bolshevism, of which Mazdakism was an early forerunner, 
as a theological quibble ! 

This inexplicable failure of modern historians to understand 
the communist movement initiated by Mazdak, might explain the 
lamentable lack of comprehension of events of a similar character 
which are swaying Persia, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, 
Turkestan, Russia and Egypt at the present day. There is no 
surer method of mastering contemporary conditions than the dili- 
gent perusal and analysis of similar occurences in the past. 

That Mazdakism was considered by its contemporaries as a 
movement of prime importance can be readily ascertained from the 
large space it occupies in the chronicles of the Greek and Oriental 
historians of the sixth and succeeding centuries. Theophanes, 
Procopius, Eutychius, Tabari, Mirkhond, Abulfeda and others de- 
vote long dissertations to Mazdak, Babak and the various insur- 
rections engendered by their teachings. The famous Persian poet, 
Firdousi, celebrates the stirring events in his glorious national epic, 
the Shahnameh, in stanzas that have become immortal. 

The real facts, however, like those of the modern communist 
movement, have been obscured by a mass of uncritical narrative 
which varies, not only according to the nationalistic or economic 
prejudices of the respective historians ; but shows contradictions of 
the most glaring character in the text of one and the same writer. 

From this maze of controversial, tendencies and legendary 
reports, I have attempted to glean the few historical facts and to 
interpret them in the light of modern criticism. My aim is to 
visualize the state of affairs which gave rise to Mazdakism, to 
analyze the causes of its meteoric propaganda and apparent failure 
and, thereby, contribute to the deeper study of modern movements 
of the same social and economic character. 

II. 

The state of Persia at the time of Mazdak was not unlike that 
of Russia during the European War. The last half of the fifth 
century might be characterized as a period of famine, pestilence, 



()()<> THE OPEN COURT. 

atrocious religious persecutions, civil war and foreign invasion. 
The treaty of 422, between Persia and Constantinople, had guaran- 
teed, to Christians, the free exercise of their religion ; but Yez- 
degerd II. a zealous Zoroastrian. embarked upon a series of re- 
lentless persecutions and savage pogroms against Manicheans, 
Xestorians and Jews. They were forcibly impressed into military 
service, forbidden to use fire in their dwellings and houses of prayer 
and. under penalty of death, were interdicted the burial of their 
dead. The Jews were not allowed to observe the Sabbath, as a day 
of rest, and could not practice the ritual slaughtering of cattle in 
public slaughter-houses. The murder of Christian bishops and 
Jewish rabbis became a daily occurence and the persecutions aroused 
the non-magian population to such an extent that public prayers 
were offered for the sovereign's death. The legend represents him 
as having been swallowed by a serpent. 

Perozes (450-486) went still further in his determination to 
establish Zoroastrianism as the only religion in Persia. He is said 
to have been even more cruel than Sapor who had slaughtered '2"3 
bishops with his own hand. The Jews and Christians were de- 
clared to be outlaws and were turned over to the mercy of the magi ; 
their children were forcibly removed to the fire-altars for instruc- 
tion in the Persian religion. Half of the Jewish population of 
Ispahan were slaughtered and Huna Mari, son of Mar Zutra I, 
was publicly executed, in spite of the fact that his father was the 
officially recognized prince of captivity. A brother of Perozes, 
sickened by these atrocities, rose in rel)ellion ; the ensuing civil war 
further decimating the distracted population. The crazed citizens 
of Ctesiphon, the new capital of the Empire, firmly believed that 
the year 4(iH. "the wicked year" would see the destruction of the 
world. In the meantime, the Albanians had invaded the northern 
provinces of the Empire and were reducing to ashes the cities in 
their path. The Armenians who had embraced Christianity were 
forced to abjure, cii )iiassc, after several unsuccessful insurrections. 
Even \''ahan, the ranking Armenian prince, embraced Zoroastrianism ; 
receiving, as the price of his apostasy, the j^osition of Sf^araprf 
(Commander-in-chief) of Persarmenia. Before the .\ll)anians 
could be checked, a fresh enemy, the White Huns { h^phthalites, Hai- 
tab. Xcphthalitcs) swoo])cd down upon the eastern lioundarv and 
with lii'e and swoid (Icriuiatcd the population and burned the crops. 
I'inally, the wild Arabs, fiom the south, began those fierce periodic 
raids which, hundred and tift\ \ears later, culminated in the con- 



MAZDAK GG7 

quest of Persia by the Mohammedans. In order to have a free 
hand with his "unbeheving" subjects, Perozes had to submit to the 
the terms of the Hun and pay an enormous indemnity and yearly 
tribute to the Khan. 

Furthermore, as if nature had conspired to ruin the pleasant 
land of Fars and to destroy its miserable inhabitants, the most 
dreaded scourge of the East, a drought of seven years, accompanied 
by its ghastly twins, famine and pestilence, spread its deadly mantle 
over the Persian Empire. The frightful consecj[uences of such a 
calamity could only be visualized by those who have witnessed 
periods of absolute aridity. The earth becomes as dry as parch- 
ment and the garden soil takes on the hardness of concrete ; the 
grass, and later all vegetable life, even the trees, disappear and the 
smiling countryside is changed into a dull, lifeless desert. The wells 
and cisterns dry up ; the fountains and rivulets cease to flow until 
the largest rivers are reduced to mere threads of the life-giving 
fluid, dejectedly trickling between its anemic banks. Gaunt Famine 
now stalks in and the poor begin to die by the hundreds and thou- 
sands. The unburied corpses fill the air with pestilential emanations 
and the plague carries away those who had been spared by hunger. 
The rich who manage to sustain life by stealth, on food and water 
imported from other countries, succumb to the contagion which 
issues from their poorer brethren and as the aridity lasts, neither 
wealth nor position is of any further avail. In those rare instances 
of absolute drought, lasting for more than a year, even the beasts 
of the field and the fowls of the air perish: wild animals and rep- 
tiles succumb to the inexorable aridity. And in order to complete 
the desolation of the land, the locusts, those winged messengers of 
God's wrath, had destroyed the vegetation from the few remaining 
oases of the Persian desert. 

Perozes is said to have imported corn from Greece, India and 
Abyssinia and that for every poor man who died of hunger, he 
threatened to execute a rich man from the same community. This 
would seem to indicate that while the poor must have suffered ter- 
ribly, the wealthier classes had managed to get along pretty well : 
Persian profiteers were probably as conspicuous as our own modern 
brand. 

No sooner did the famine relent, than the persecutions re- 
doubled in fury ; but Perozes realized, like so many tyrants before 
and after him, that he could not prevail against the spiritual con- 
victions of his victims. Manv lews emigrated to more tolerant 



668 THE OPEN COURT. 

countries. Joseph Rabija led a vast number of pilgrims to India, 
where tiiey still maintain their community life. Being unable to 
extirpate Christianity. Perozes reluctantly permitted the schismatic 
Christians of his realm to call a synod (483 A. D.) and recognized 
the Nestorian sect as the official Nazarene church of his dominions, 
lie. thus, succeeded in splitting off a large contingent from the 
church of Rome ; a breach that has not healed to this day. 

A new invasion of the Huns resulted in the death of Perozes 
and the accession of Balash who had to pay a heavy indemnity and 
continued to bleed the country white by constant civil war against 
his brother Zarech. It is interesting to note that Kush-newaz, the 
chief of the White Huns not only used trenches in his war against 
Persia, but had anticij)ated modern warfare by the judicious use of 
"propaganda behind the front." This did not consist of the famous 
"fourteen points'' but in the exhibition of the treaty that Perozes 
had broken. 

Finally, the people of Persia, unable to endure their miserable 
state, rose against the King and nobles and proclaimed his nephew. 
Kavadh, who had fled to the Ephthalites and who obligingly fur- 
nished him with an army to obtain the throne. 

The nature of the revolution which put Kavadh (Cabades I) 
on the throne seems to have been entirely unrecognized by the 
Greek chroniclers of the time. Those wdio copied them must also 
have had only a rudimentary knowledge of economic problems. 
After half a century of civil war. persecutions, famine and pes- 
tilence aggravated by the rapacity of the magnates, the revolution 
could only be explained on economic grounds. Thus, we learn from 
other sources that the land tax consisted in as high as one-third to 
one-half of the produce and that the farmer was not allowed to 
touch his crop or even the grape on the vine before the tax-gatherer 
had taken his share. Tabari tells us a characteristic story of King 
Kavadh anrl the ])easaiit woman who did not dare pluck a fruit from 
the tree, in her own garden, for fear of the government. The peo- 
ple were groaning under the burden of maintaining the vast multi- 
tude of tax-gatherers, priests, military and civil officials. The re- 
forms later introduced by Chosroes show how the poor peasant and 
artisan were opi)ressed by the wealthy, and also the rampant venal- 
ity of the officials and the widespread bril)ing of judges and gov- 
ernors, lie is said to have executed eighty tax-collectors in one 
day, for extortion. At the time of Kavadh's accession, however, 



MAZDAK • fiGO 

the people's sufferings and indignation had reached frenzied propor- 
tions and the time for superficial reforms had passed. Something 
absolutely radical had to be done and it had to be done immediately. 
The failure to understand this desperate state of the people of 
Persia has led the chroniclers of the time to also misjudge the 
nature of the second revolution which drove Kavadh out of the 
capital; a counter-revolution led by the magnates and the clergy. 
Finally, the proper comprehension of the two revolutions would 
explain the third which put the crown back on Kavadh's head and 
also the conflicting policies of his reign. 

III. 

The revolution which put Kavadh on the throne was a spontan- 
eous uprising of the people in which probably all classes took part. 
It was not unlike the first revolution against the Czar of Russia, 
The farmers on account of the taxes, the city dwellers protesting 
against extortion and mismanagement of the officials ; and the 
magnates because of the weakness of the government and of the 
king. The first reign of Kavadh lasted about seven years (488- 
496) and during this time the various elements that took part in the 
revolution began to realize that it had not fulfilled their respective 
expectations. A new king was apparently not sufficient to bring 
about the millenium ! The poorer classes had to starve and slave, 
as before ; while the nobles and the wealthy were smarting under 
the curb which Kavadh was trying to impose upon their rapacity 
and resisted any reforms which would limit their privileges or in- 
come. This must have resulted in more discontent among the peo- 
ple, who were now ripe to listen to any proposition that promised 
them instant relief. Under the pressure of socialistic agitation, the 
king had to accede more and more to the demands of the people 
and alienate to himself the powerful magnates of the empire. 
These became more and more insolent and arrogant and with the 
help of the higher clergy must have threatened to depose him. As 
the nobles grew bolder, the common people became more violent 
until they no longer were satisfied with socialistic reformers, 
but gave ear to the Bolsheviki, the communists, who preached a 
radical change in the social and economic system of Persian so- 
ciety. It is Kavadh's leaning to and final acceptance of the Com- 
munists' program, which he recognized as the strongest party, that 
led to the counter-revolution of the magnates, his deposition and 



6T0 TTTE OPEX COURT. 

the accession to the throne ( for two years) of his brother Djamasp 
(496-498). 

The cause of the revohition is ascribed b}' Firdousi to the 
execution of the Grand-\'izier, Souferai. who had been Prime Min- 
ister under the previous reigns and who had ruled the empire with 
an iron hand until Kavadh became of age. First of all, Kavadh 
came to the throne long after he was 21. All historians agree that 
he died in ."iSl A. D., after a reign of 4-\ years, aged 82 ; he must, 
therefore have been at least .'59 years old when he began his first 
reign. A king, at that age, does not need, nor does he fear, the 
tutelage of an old man. Secondly, it is not customary for a Orien- 
tal people to revolt on account of the somewhat sudden demise of a 
vizier. The son of Kavadh, Chosroesi, who would have learned 
from his father's experience, did not hesitate to execute his own 
Grand-vizier without causing the slightest political ripple. Some 
two hundred years later, Harun-al-Rashid beheaded his Prime- 
Minister, Jaafar the Barmecide, together with 1,000 members of his 
family and, although the reason for this cruelty was never known, 
nobody stirred against the authority of the Caliph. 

There is another reason which renders doubtful the argument 
of J-'irdousi and the historians from whom he copied his data. He 
relates that after his deposition, Kavadh was handed over to Rez- 
mihr, the son of Souferai, so that he might revenge himself upon 
him for his father's death. Rezmihr not only spared his life, but 
escaped with the king and five other men to the Heitaliens. Fur- 
thermore, in passing through Ahwaz, Kavadh fell in love with the 
daughter of a Dikhan (freehold farmer), a descendant of Firidoun, 
the national hero of old Persia who delivered his people from the 
monster tyrant Zohak. Rezmihr actually woed the girl (who later 
became the mother of Chosroes) for his sovereign and brought her 
to him in his exile. The episode points to the fact that through the 
endeavors of Rezmihr (who probably belonged to the new party; 
while his father had been a reactionary) the bulk of the nation 
which was composed of the diklians had espoused the cause of the 
King. It is r|uite ])ossible that the execution of Souferai should 
ha\e precipitated the revolt of the nobles, who beheld in his dis- 
grace the fate that \\a^ awaiting them: l)Ul it cannot l)e said that 
it was the cause of the counter-revolution, anymore than the mur- 
der of .Sarajevo was the cause of the lunopcan war. 

The >hare of the nobles in the deposition of Kavadh can lie 



MAZDAK 671 

readily appreciated from an incident related by Procopius. While 
the fate of the king was being discussed, one of his officers, Gun- 
astades, taking out the knife with which he was accustomed to pare 
his nails and showing it to the assembled chiefs, exclaimed : "You 
see how small this knife is ; yet, it is big enough to accomplish a 
deed which a little while hence, not twenty thousand men would be 
able to manage." His advice was not followed; why? 

Kavadh's life was spared for the simplest of reasons : The 
magnates felt themselves too weak and were afraid of the retalia- 
tion which would be visited upon them by the communists. They 
feared the power of Mazdak and the Mazdakites ; but who was this 
man Mazdak ? 

IV. 

Mazdak was a native and archimagus of the city of Nishapur, 
in Khorasan. According to Mirkhond and others, he was born in 
Persepolis or in Irak. Firdousi calls him an eloqvient, educated, in- 
telligent and ambitious man who announced himself as a reformer 
of the Zoroastrian religion and became the king's Destour, guardian 
of the treasure and treasurer. The career and deeds of Mazdak 
do not seem, however, to point to any religious activity. It is not 
the habit of religious teachers to become treasurers of the realm 
or Grand-viziers of the king. If he invoked Zoroastrianism at all, 
it must have been in relation to the economic problems of the coun- 
try. The various abuses of the Magian church, like those of the 
Catholic and Orthodox churches in France and Russia, were some 
of the many causes of the Persian revolution of the sixth century ; 
just as the others contributed to the upheaval of the French and 
the Bolshevik revolutions (compare the monk Rasputin). 

The essential tenets of Mazdakism, as reported by the Greek 
and Arabian historians (and detractors), seem to have been as fol- 
lows : All men, by God's providence, were born free and equal ; 
none brought into this world any property or any natural right to 
possess more than another. Property was, therefore, theft (com- 
pare Proudhon's : la propricte, c'est le vol.). Property and marri- 
age were human inventions, contrary to the wnll of God, who re- 
quires the equal division of all good things, among all the people, 
and forbids the appropriation of particular women by individual 
men. Adultery, incest and theft were really not crimes ; but the 
necessary steps for the re-establishment of the laws of nature, in 



fi'^3 THE OPEN COITRT. 

a corrupt society. This last view has been distorted by the 
chroniclers into the express command to commit incest, adultery and 
theft; while Mazdak simply condones them as products of a cor- 
rupted system of society. This "twisting of the truth by knaves to 
make a trap for fools" has been closely paralleled by the "national- 
ization-of-women" canard sent out broadcast by the enemies of the 
Russian Bolsheviki. 

Mazdak also preached the sacredness of animal life, the 
absention from animal food other than milk, cheese and eggs ; sim- 
plicity in dress, moderation of all appetites and devotion to the 
l)riniordial cause of all things. These ascetic and communistic 
views, akin to the teachings of the Hindu Brahmists, show the de- 
sire of Mazdak to revert to the simple life of his forefathers. It 
is the system of society under which the great Iranian people lived 
on the central Asiatic plateau, before the great cleavage which re- 
sulted in the migration of the two main branches of the Aryans 
into India and Persia, respectively. 

Thus, we see the ascete Mazdak, like our modern teachers Tol- 
stoy and Lenin, preach a doctrine of apparent laxity and self-in- 
dulgence ; not from base or selfish motives, but from a profound 
conviction and devotion to truth. Eudoxus of Cnidus, the Greek 
astronomer who calculated the solar year and invented the sun- 
dial had entertained similar views, 400 years before Christ. Na- 
turally enough, ^Nlazdakism was enthusiastically adopted by the 
\oung of all ranks; by the lovers of pleasure (by the free-lovers, 
as we would say, nowadays) and by the great bulk of lower orders, 
the exploited from time immemorial. But there is one point which 
is not clear, namely the reason which induced Kavadh to become 
the most ardent supporter of Mazdakism. What could the king 
gain by embracing a creed which levelled him with his subjects and 
absolutely incompatible with the monarchical principle? He was 
no youngster and he was not poor and still he worked with all his 
might to introduce Mazdakism as the official state polity of Persia. 
I'pon this point all authorities agree; luit upon the circumstances 
of his conversion and extreme zeal there is either complete sil- 
ence or contradicting opinions. 

Mirkhond conjectures that the confidence of Kavadh was 
gained through an elaborate and clever trick. An excavation was 
dug beneath the fire-altar and a metal tube inserted so that it de- 
bouched on the altar where tlu' ])crpc'tual lire was burning. A con- 
federate was placed in the ea\ern who. in stentorian tones, invited 



MAZDAK 673 

the king- to approach. Mazdak was then supposed to talk into 
the fire and the answers he received could not have failed to con- 
vince the monarch that the prophet was in direct communication 
with God ; the fire being the symbol and embodiment of the deity. 
This puerile explanation of a mighty revolutionary movement stands 
unsupported by the other chroniclers and it is contrary to reason 
to believe that such an acute mind as Kavadh's could be deceived by 
a rather coarse imposture, akin to ventriloquism. In Persia, where 
the priests were past-masters of magic and sleight-of-hand tricks, 
such rough work could not pass as a miracle. Moreover, the char- 
acter of Mazdak, from the few details we possess, seems to have 
been too lofty for such subterfuges and we find nowhere the claim 
that he was on speaking terms with the Almighty. 

According to Firdousi, Mazdak used his great gifts of oratory 
and sincere persuasion. His account is much more rational, albeit 
too detailed and partial. There was a great drought and famine ; 
the rich as well as the poor incessantly besieged the king's palace, 
asking for bread and water. Mazdak, who already seems to have 
been in attendance at the court (as a minister without portfolio, 
perhaps), calms the populace by telling them that the king would 
show them the way to hope. He then went in to the king and 
asked a series of questions, among them were the following: "A 
man has been bitten by a snake and his life is in danger. Another 
man has an antidote, but refuses to give it except at an exorbitant 
price which the poor man cannot pay; what should be done?" 
The king replied : "That man is a murderer and should be killed 
before my door by the relatives of the victim of his greed". The 
next day, Mazdak asked the king: "A man's feet are bound in 
chains and he is hungry; what should be the punishment of the 
man who, having surplus bread, refuses to share it with the fam- 
ished one?" The king replied: "The miserable wretch is respon- 
sible for the hungry man's death by his inactivity and greed !" 
Mazdak then kissed the ground before the king and going out to the 
people exclaimed : 

"Go wherever there is hidden corn, take each a part and if the 
'price is demanded, destroy the village!" 

He gave the example by delivering to the people everything 
he possessed, himself, and when the guardians of the royal stores 
complained to the king about the pillage and the latter spoke to 
Mazdak about it, the latter reminded him of his answers to the two 



674 THE OPEN COURT. 

parables and added: "Surplus of wealth is sinful!" Firdousi con- 
tinues : 

"The king was impressetl with the words of Mazdak which 
seemed so true ; he saw that his heart and head were full of what 
the prophets, the priests and chiefs of justice had said in olden 
times. Mazdak treated old and young as his equals, he took from 
one and gave to another and the king exalted him over all his 
servants'". 

We cannot assume that the king was carried away by youthful 
enthusiasm ; he probably was impressed with the sincerity of Maz- 
dak and specially by the power which he had over the people. He 
was too good a politician to go against the rising tide and he was 
anxious to avail himself of the revolution to curb the turbulence 
and arrogance of the nobility. Thus, we saw, before the European 
War, the King of Italy hobnobbing with the proletarian hoi polloi 
and declare himself in sympathy with the economic theories of 
Socialism. It is better to be a socialist king than no king at all! 

V. 

The Greek historian Agathias states that the people revolted 
against Kavadh because he was a tyrant and they preferred his- 
brother Djamasp, because the latter was known for his mildness 
and love of justice. Tabari, on the other hand, says emphatically 
that Djamasp did not administer justice satisfactorily. Both state- 
ments are vitiated by the fact that Djamasp seems to have been 
a child who was tenderly treated by Kavadh after the restoration. 
Everything seems to point to the conclusion that it was 
the reactionary party of the magnates that deposed Kavadh and 
that they felt too weak to murder him. Instead of following the 
advice of Gunastades, the king was cast into the prison known as 
the Castle of Ohlii'-ion. 

Mis esca])e from prison is differently related by the various 
chroniclers. According to some he escaped by disguising himself 
as a woman and lied to the Ejihtalites who gave him an army with 
which he recon(|uere(l his throne. According to others, his wife 
seduced the warden and remained in ])rison. while Kavadh was 
carried out by a slave, in a bundle of bed-clothes. It is question- 
able whether he really fled to the Huns or not. From the story 
of his wooing the Diklian's daughter and the fact that Djamas]) 
relin(|uislu'd tlii' crown without putting np any resistance, it seems 



MAZDAK 675 

that he remained for a considerable time within the country where 
the bulk of the farming and nationalist elements rallied to his 
support. The Mazdakites, subsequently, opened the doors of the 
capital, upon his triumphal return. 

It is significant that neither Mazdak nor his followers were 
molested. One writer claims that Mazdak was also imprisoned ; 
but his adherents rose and freed him by breaking the prison doors. 

The attitude of Kavadh towards Mazdakism, after his return, 
has been variously related. According" to some authorities, he re- 
mained as zealous as ever ; according to others, although an un- 
wavering adherent, he would not coiuitenance any violence. The 
result being that Mazdakism languished as a harmless speculation 
of some enthusiasts who did not venture to carry out their theories 
into practice. Finally, Procopius claims that the crown prince, 
Chosroes, put a check to the fanaticism of the Mazdakites. Neither 
view would stand criticism. Chosroes was an infant at the begin- 
ning of Kavadh's second reign and the further developments will 
prove that the communists had not abandoned the principle of direct 
action. What probably did happen was some kind of a compromise 
entered upon by the king with the center parties of the farmers by 
which a modus vivendi was established between the moderate ele- 
ments and the radicals. Later, when the king needed men, officers 
and money to fight the Romans, the Khazars, the Huns and the 
Arabs he must have made further concessions to the nobles. These 
concessions led to the recrudescence of Mazdakite disorders in the 
third decade of the sixth century. 

In the meantime, the astute king must have placated the com- 
munists with the usual promises and seems to have amused them 
and occupied their minds by numerous debates, dissertations, pa- 
rades and such baubles. The bulk of the population were probably 
satisfied by a few judicious reforms. There is a record of one of 
these parades which must have taken place about 520 A. D., during 
which thirty thousand Mazdakites were reviewed by Kavadh, sit- 
ting on a throne outside the city. During this demonstration, Maz- 
dak, according to Firdousi, remarked to the king that the crown 
prince, Chosroes, did not seem to share the Communistic view of 
his father. In his Address to the Throne, Mazdak expatiated upon 
the five vices which deviate the human race from the path of 
righteousness: jealousy, revenge, anger, necessity and coveteous- 
ness. All five were due to superfluous wealth and superfluity of 
women. He, therefore, exhorted the king again to declare the 



676 THE OPEX COURT. 

common ownership of all surplus wealth ; he would then witness 
that all men could become virtuous. The prophet attempted to take 
the crown prince's hand ; but Chosroes withdrew it. indignantly. 
This incident probably points to an attempt made by the Mazdak- 
ites to win Chosroes to their cause or to the crown prince's re- 
I)udiation of a pact, previously entered upon. Chosroes now asked 
his father for five months of respite and that on the sixth he would 
confound the doctrine of Mazclak in a public debate. This shows 
that the Mazdakites had the u])per hand in the affairs of the realm ; 
otherwise force, instead of spiritual arguments, would have been 
used by their enemies. 

At last, the day of the great disputation arrived and a vast 
throng of people filled the great hall of the king's audience room. 
The greatest authorities had been assembled by the diligence of 
Chosroes. Old Hormuzd, the centenarian dean of the Magian 
priesthood, was induced to leave his retreat in the fastnesses of 
Khorasan and to lend dignity and weight to the opponents of Maz- 
dakism. Khourrehi-Ardeshir of the University of Istakhar 
(Persepolis) and the Persistan philosopher, Mihr Ader, had been 
invited with thirty of the latter's famous disciples. A so-called 
neutral board composed of the great teachers of the various 
academies, among whom were Resmihr (Zer-Mihr?), Khorrad. 
Ferrahin, Benhoui and Behzad were to act as judges of the contest. 

Arguments advanced by the various debaters against Com- 
munism (the points in favor of it are not recorded) sound strange- 
ly modern. On reading them, one has the haunting impression 
that he had read them recently, somewhere ; perhaps in the editorial 
columns of a great metroj^olitan newspaper or in a backwoods 
weekly of a prosperous farming county. 

One of the mol)eds, for instance, exclaims: 

"O thou, Mazdak, who seekest the truth ! Thou hast introduced 
a new faith into tlie world; thou hast put in common women and 
other property. But how will a son know his sire and how will the 
father recognize his children? If all were equal in this world and 
if there were no difference between the great and the small, who 
would serve and how would power be exercised? Who would 
work for thee and me and how would the good distinguish them- 
selves from the wicked? When a man dieth. to whom shall his 
home ;iiid forluiU' belong, if the king and the artisan are e(|ual?'" 

Another sjx'aker said: 



MAZDAK 677 

"The world will surely become a desert and I pray God that 
such a misfortune shall not overtake our glorious Iran!'' 

One of the debaters asked the following questions : 

"When all are masters, who would be the wage-earners? When 
all will have treasures, who will be the treasurer? 

Finally, the hoary Hormuzd ended with an imprecation : 

"Never has any founder of a religion spoken as thou, Mazdak ! 
Thou hast done the secret work of Divs (Devils). Thou leadest 
man to Hell as thou reckonest not as evil the crimes of the human 
race !" 

According to Firdousi, who reports some of the details of 
the disputation, the king was convinced of the wickedness of Maz- 
dak's views and turning to Chosroes, said: 

"Don't speak to me about Mazdak any more, do as you wish 
in this matter!" He then delivered into his hands all the Mazdak- 
ites, among whom there were 300 nobles. That a debate could have 
changed Kavadh's views would be as great a fallacy as to believe 
that he was converted by tricks of prestidigatation. Everything 
seems to point, on the contrary, to the fact that the Mazdakites won 
this debate as all others and that their influence began to wane only 
when other than spiritual arguments were injected into the issue. 
It is a well known psychological fact that no educated man is ever 
convinced by a public debate ; both sides marshal apparently irre- 
futable arguments and their "facts" cannot be verified on the spur 
of the moment. The presence of 300 nobles, among the Maz- 
dakites, would have, in itself, prevented the king from meeting out 
summary justice. As to the presence of those magnates among the 
Mazdakites, they can only be explained on the ground of the sym- 
pathy that all generous natures have always had for the under-dog. 
Thus did Prince Kropotkin abandon the Russian Court and throw 
in his lot with the Communist-x\narchists. 

The real causes which led the Mazdakites to jeopardize their 
standing with the king were of a different nature than theoretical 
debating. From indirect evidence, these might be classified as 
general and personal. The general causes were the external wars, 
the passive and armed resistance of the Christians Arabs and Jews 
to Mazdakism ; while the personal reasons were the advancing age 
of the monarch, the opposition of Chosroes and the plots for the 
succession to the throne. Contrary to the chroniclers, all these 



678 THE OPEN COURT. 

factors only niade themselves felt towards the end of Kavadh's 
reign and not at the beginning', as they invariably assert. 

VI. 

• The influence of foreign wars upon the internal conditions of 
a country need not be stressed. These wars were probably pre- 
vented in the early reign of Khavad by the influence of Mazdak : 
but as each fight has two sides and the power of the communists 
was unable to reach to Constantinople or to prevail spiritually 
against the wild Khazars and Huns, the Persians were ultimately 
forced to fight, in self-defense; the Mazdakites, as their modern 
followers, the Bolsheviki, being probably in the first ranks of the 
army. Later as these wars and invasions became chronic and the 
internal troubles multiplied, the king must have come to rely more 
and more upon that section of the population whose business it 
was to fight, the professional warriors or magnates. As in all hu- 
man relations there is more or less of give and take, the king mu^t 
have gradually compromised with the nobles and returned to them, 
step by step, some of their former privileges ; this in turn must 
have aroused the Mazdakites against the king and a vicious circle 
was thus created. 

The passive and active resistance of the magian. as well as 
non-magian population of Persia, to the doctrines of Mazdak must 
have become increasingly determined as the economic situation of 
the country began to improve. We do not know, except in the case 
of the Jews, how far this resistance went; but.it must have been 
considerable and ever present. The Armenian Christians rose en 
luassc. several times ; but were always suppressed. The Nestorians 
and Arabs probably helped the Jews in their armed insurrection as 
they all lived near each other, in Babylonia, Assyria and Hira. .\ 
more subtle anti-communist propaganda must have been carried on 
by the Jewish and Christian traders who traveled all through the 
em])ire, and to whose commercial interest it was to abolish all ves- 
tiges of political theories in restraint of trade. That the Nestorian 
Christians were zealous propagandists of their faith can be seen 
frf)m the fact that in ."iO.") A. D.. their missionaries had reached 
as far as China. They and the Jacobites, together with the Armen- 
ians, who had been schooled in the endurance of persecution by two 
centures of repression, looked upon Zoroastrianism as the most 
abhorent of religions and upon Mazdakism as the acme of abomina- 



MAZDAK G7!) 

tioii. The Syro-Christian population of Persia were strict mono- 
gamists and the report that Mazdak had preached the community 
of wives and had obtained even the king's wife and sister, must 
have filled them with dread and abhorrence. 

Christianity had permeated large classes of Persian society ; 
the Persians always having been prone to religious and philo- 
sophical speculations (compare Mithraism, Manichaeism. the Zer- 
vanites, etc.)- Although most of the propaganda was done under- 
ground, it nevertheless had gained many adherents and if it had not 
been for the spread of Al-Islam, Persia might today be as Chris- 
tian as Armenia. The extent of the propagation of the faith may 
be learned from the fact that Nushizad, one of Chosroes' sons was 
a Christian, a rebel and perhaps a martyr. There is good cir- 
cumstantial evidence to believe that the Persian Christians had 
contributed a good deal to the suppression of Mazdakism. 

The role of the Arabs is not well defined. We know that 
Kavadh had deposed King Mondhir IT, of the principality of Hira. 
on the western bank of the lower Euphrates and, therefore, in 
close proximity to Babylonia, where most of the Jewish and Chris- 
tian settlements were situated. It is quite possible that Mondhir 
helped them to revolt. Another Arab chieftain, Arethas, of the 
Gassa tribe, was probably antagonistic to Alondhir who was a pro- 
tege of Chosroes. The mother of Mondhir, known as Celestial 
Water, owing to her remarkable beauty, might have had some- 
thing to do with her son's decision to oppose Communism. 

VII. 

The relation of the Persian Jews to Mazdak and their re- 
action to his teachings, deserve a special chapter ; first because of 
the interesting and positive data we have upon the subject and 
secondly on acount of the character of the reaction which was a 
successful war for independence. 

It seems to be an irony of fate that the Jews, w^ho, in modern 
times, have been accused as well as praised as the foremost pro- 
pagandists of the subversive creed of Bolshevism, should have 
fought, with arms in hand, as the bitterest opponents of the Persian 
Bolshevism of fourteen hundred years ago. Not only did they 
fight the Mazdakites with words and swords, but they actually suc- 
ceeded in establishing for themselves an autonomous state, the 
duration of which is variously estimated at from seven to twenty 
years. 



680 THE OPEN COURT. 

The Jews of Persia and especially those who had settled in 
Babylonia were probably the most powerful and cultivated of the 
Diaspora. They had always enjoyed a certain amount of autonomy 
and their Prince of Captivity or Exilarch (Resh Galutha) was a 
hereditary prince who was credited with being- a scion of the royal 
house of David. The exilarchs had surounded themselves with 
royal pomp and received the homage of the presidents of the Uni- 
versities which were in the most flourishing condition. The Tal- 
mud had just been completed (501) and the decisions of the rab- 
binical scholars of Babylonia were honored and obeyed by all the 
Jewish communities in the world. The chief seats of Persian 
Judaism were in Babylonia and centered around the academies of 
Sura, Pumbedita, Nehardea and Mahusa. The latter city was the 
seat of the Exilarch's Court and only three parasangs (about 1"3 
miles) to the south of Ctesiphon, the capital of the Empire. The 
citadel of Koke is mentioned in the Talmud as well as the luxury 
and the passion for jewelery which characterized the inhabitants 
of the city. Their intelligence was ascribed to their drinking the 
water of the Tigris (Ber. 59b) and their opulence and charitable 
inclinations had become a household word (B. K. 119a). 

Twice a year, during the months of Adar (March) and Ellul 
(September), a huge crowd of extra-mural students would as- 
semble in the University of Mahuza to pass their examinations and 
receive their stipend for subsistence and their release from the 
payment of taxes. These general assemblies, at which as many as 
twelve thousand students would attend, were regulated by for- 
malities and an etiquette worthy of Byzance or China. Facing the 
President or Dean of the University were the seven chiefs of the 
assembly (reshe kallah) and their three associate members (ha- 
berim). Each of them was attended by ten full professors (allu- 
fim) and the seventy, sitting on ten benches formed the body known 
as the Sanhedrin. Behind them sat the assistant ]:)rofessors and 
the students. 

r)ne can readily imagine what cllccl Kaxadh's proclamation 
to adopt Mazdakism must have had on this wealthy and cultured 
center of Judaism. A ])()])ulation. steeped in the learning of the 
Tor.'ih who "treasure their maidens as ihe apple of their eye", 
could not allow itself to be sullied by "pagan tilth". There must 
have been a s])ontaneous flare of insurrection, the immediate cause 
of which, according to ( iractz, was tlic murder of Mar Isaac, the 
dean of one of the aiadcmics. W'licthcr Mar Isaac was killed 1)V 



MAZDA K 



681 



Persian Mazdakites or by Jewish Coniniunists (the very weaUh of 
the city implies that there must have been a corresponding ex- 
ploitation of weaker brethren) is not on record. According to 
Hebrew traditions, only four hundred warriors were able (with the 
help of a miraculous fire-cloud) to defeat the king's troops, sent 
to quell the insurrection, and to set up an independent state which 
endured for seven years and was ruled by the youthful exilarch 
Mar Zutra II. 

This was not the first time that the Babylonian Jews had 
struck for their independence. Five hundred years, previously, 
they had taken up arms in defense of their religion and the purity 
of their family-life. At that time, led by the two patriots and 
scholars, Asinai and Anilai and by the inevitable fire-cloud, they 
successfully withstood the Parthian idolaters and drove them out 
of their settlements. But when those Jewish soldiers had abandoned 
the tenets of Judaism by adopting loose morals and by drinking 
unclean wine, the fire-cloud had disappeared together with their in- 
dependence. 

The four hundred warriors who fought against the armies of 
Kavadh should be taken with a grain of salt. Forty thousand 
would be a much nearer estimate, as the number of students alone 
must have been near fifteen thousand. The Jews were probably 
helped by the Christians of the vicinity and perhaps by the Arabs, 
under Mondhir, whose territory bordered on Babylonia. As the 
Jewish prince is said to have laid the non-Jewish, as well as the 
Jewish population of Irak, under tribute, it would mean that the 
new state embraced considerably more than the Jewish pale. Irak 
was the western division of the Persian Empire and comprised 
Babylonia, Assyria and Mesopotamia. 

With all this, it is still a puzzle how an independent state could 
be allowed to exist, at such close proximity to the Persian Capital. 
It could only be explained by the fact that during the first few 
years of his reign, Kavadh was too tolerant to impose his views 
upon an alien population and that Mazdak probably shared these 
views ; expecting that they would gradually be converted to the 
new order of things by recognizing its superiority from practical 
demonstration. Later, when the troubles of the succession started 
and the Mazdakites had become incensed with the concessions to 
the nobles, they probably insisted that Kavadh send a strong ex- 
pedition to Mahuza which put an end to this thorn in their side. 



08"^ THE OPEN COURT. 

According to the Hebrew legend, the career of Mar Zutra had 
been foreordained in heaven. His father, the Exilarch Huna, had 
been at odds with his father-in-law. Mar Hanina. the President of 
the University. He had punished the holy man by forcing him to 
stay outside the city gate during a whole night. The prayers or 
imprecations of the pious rabbi resulted in the death of every mem- 
ber of the Exilarch's family, save his wife, the daughter of Mar 
Hanina. In a dream, the latter saw himself destroying a forest of 
beautiful cedars and as he was about to uproot the last tender 
nurseling. King David appeared and interfered. This dream was 
interpreted as a warning and when his daughter gave birth to a 
posthumous child, he was reared and educated by his grandfather. 
The tender care and careful training resulted in a remarkable i)re- 
cocity of the young prince, who, at the age of fifteen, had all the 
faculties and knowledge of an adult. He was then taken to Navadh 
who invested him with the title and prerogatives of the office of 
Exilarch (511). 

This tradition is somewhat at variance with the actual facts 
given by historians. The young prince seems to have been born 
in 496 A. D., and became Exilarch in oil ; but his father. Mar 
Huna \1, became Exilarch in 488 and reigned till 508 ; in other 
words he was invested in his office when Kavadh came to the throne, 
the first time, and not after the death of the tyrant Perozes as some 
state. If this date is correct, and it has everything in its favor, 
then Mar Zutra, his son, was twelve years old when his father died 
and the exilarchship was under the regencv of Pinna's nephew, 
Pahda. for only three years. It seems that Pahda was reluctant to 
give up his regency and either l)y bribes or perhaps by declari»ig 
himself in favor of Mazdakism, he might have prevailed updii 
Kavadh to defer the coronation of his youthful cousin. Hence, 
the insurrection must have taken i)lace in 511. The arms of the in- 
dc])endent Exilarch. Mar Zutra II, bore a fly. the insect to which 
the death of the wicked Pahda had been attriluited. This would 
indicate that Pahda had played a greater role in the matter than 
it is generally assumed. 

When the final assault was made upon Mahuza, the youn;,' 
Ivxilarch was, therefore, not older than til. The Hebrew records 
give him only 22 and set the date of his execution at 520 A. D. 
As, an examjjle to the po])ulation. the young ])rince was crucified, 
together with his aged grand fatlier. on the bridge of Mahuza. 



MAZDA K G.So 

His infant son. Mar Zutra III, was carried to Palestine, where he 
became an archipherecites. Most of the male inhabitants were 
slaughtered, the women were distributed among the harems of the 
Guebres (Zoroastrians, Habrim) and the remainder of the popula- 
tion was impressed into the Persian army. A poll-tax was laid 
upon all Jews and Christians, 20 to 50 years old, and the rabbis 
were dispersed. The talmudical academies were razed to the 
ground and the last great teachers, Ahumai and Giza, had to flee 
to Arabia and Palestine or to the River Zab. The greatest part of 
the city of Mahuza was reduced to ashes and its glory was rav- 
ished for more than a hundred years. 

Thus ended the Jewish revolt against Alazdakism, drowned in 
the blood of its best manhood and the shame of the daughters of 
Judah. But the insurrection had not been in vain. The victory 
of the Mazdakites must have spurned them on to fresh demands 
and Kavadh must have begun to think of some means by which 
he could curb the turbulence of his erstwhile comrades. Theophanes 
speaks of Mazdakite troubles in the year 52;) which coincides with 
the growing power of the Communist party, with the beginning 
of the second war against Rome and the personal factors, men- 
tioned above, which finally led to their destruction. 

VIII. 

Of the numerous progeny of Navadh, there were four principal 
sons who could lay claim to the crown : Kaoses, Zames, Phtasuarses 
and Chosroes. 

Kaoses, as the eldest, had the natural right of primogeniture 
and of the established custom ; but, for some reason or other, was 
disliked by his father. It may be surmised that he was either in- 
tellectually inferior or that his mother was not a favorite. Perhaps 
because he had Hunnish blood ; his mother being probably the 
daughter of the Khan whom Kavadh married while a hostage. 

Zames, according to Procopius, had the respect and good 
wishes of the people ; but is said to have had a physical defect 
(cataract on one eye?) which according to Persian tradition ex- 
cluded him from the succession. 

Phtasuarses had pledged himself to the Communist party and 
was naturally supported by the Mazdakites. As the party grew 
stronger, they must have clamored more and more vehemently that 
Kavadh make up his mind about the succession and designate his 



(JS4 THE OPEN COURT. 

third son as the only one deserving to sit on the Turquoise throne. 
This must have been one of the strongest causes of Chosroes' 
hatred for the Mazdakists. 

Chosroes, who was endowed with great physical beauty as 
well as remarkable mental and strong will power, was the darling 
and favorite son of Kavadh. To his personal qualities were prob- 
ably added those of sentimental association with his mother who 
was the king's most beloved wife, all which induced the king to 
design the reversal of the natural and customary order of succes- 
sion in his favor. To add lustre to his name he had ordered his 
ambassadors in Constantinople to propose to the Emperor Justin, 
who was childless and nearly seventy years old, the adoption of 
Chosroes as his son. This singular proposition seems to have fallen 
through mainly on account of the opposition of the questor PVo- 
clus, who feared that it might induce the Persian prince to claim 
the throne of Byzance. 

A good deal of intriguing must have been going on, which 
probably gained in recklessness as the king was approaching the 
age of eighty. Finally, in a desperate mood, the friends of Chosroes 
must have hit upon the sympathy of the Mazdakites towards 
Phtasuarses as a possible means of forcing the issue. The story 
of Pocock that Chosroes' enmity towards Mazdak dated from the 
day when the latter was offered the mother and sister of Chosroes 
for his harem ; and that Kavadh only desisted from his plan after 
Chosroes had entreated him, with tears in his eyes, does not de- 
serve serious credence. It was not humiliation, but ambition that 
was at the bottom of Chosroes hatred of the Mazdakites. 

Kavadh was probably made to discover accidentally an im- 
aginary plot against his life with the object of placing Phtasuarses 
on the throne. Upon the advice of Chosroes, he invited the Maz- 
dakites to a solemn assembly, at which he was to confer the royal 
dignity upon their candidate. This stratagem so much similar to 
the one employed by Jehu (2 Kings, x. 3 8-28) proved a complete 
success. The unarmed nuiltitude was surrounded by the soldiers 
and crucllv massacred. Their bodies, according to John of Malala, 
were di|)])cd in boiling i)itcli and planted, head downwards, along 
the walls of the royal gardens (520 A. D.) As the name of 
l^htasuarses does not appear again in tlu' chronicles of the time, 
wc may surmise that he was either publicly executed or privately 
murdered. Mazdak himself does not seem to have been molested; 
t'itlier because be took no part in these seraglio intrigues or that 



MAZDAK 685 

he was shielded by the personal friendship of the sovereign. Ac- 
cording to Firdoiisi, Chosroes showed Mazdak, the rows of corpses 
planted, like trees, along- the walls and exclaimed : 

"Look upon the wonderful crop that your doctrines have 
brought forth !" 

IX. 

Kavadh had a paralytic stroke on September 8th and died 
September 13th, 531, after a reign of 43 years and two months, at 
the age of 82. His death removed the only rampart between the 
meek leader of the communists and the vindictive cruelty of Chos- 
roes. His first concern, however, was the problem of the succes- 
sion. 

Kaoses having claimed the throne, the grand-vizier intervened 
with the axiom: "No one has the right to the Persian throne, 
until assigned to it by the assembly of nobles." Upon his ac- 
quiescence, Mebodes produced Kavadh's testament and eloquently 
exhorted the nobles to accept the brave son of a brave and success- 
ful father. His eloquence swayed them to acclaim Chosroes ; but 
fearing Chosroes' restlessnes and dreading his cruelty, they regret- 
ted the hasty decision and as Zames was disqualified physically, 
they reconsidered their action and proclaimed the son of Zames as 
the King of Persia and appointed his father Regent. Zames was 
supported by several of his other brothers and even by Chosroes' 
maternal uncle : but Chosroes could not be caught napping and after 
seizing the leaders of the conspiracy, he executed Kaoses, Zames 
and his brothers together with their entire male offspring, the young 
puppet king, Kavadh, alone escaping to Constantinople. 

After the pretenders and their supporters had been effectively 
removed, Chosroes turned his full vindictiveness towards the Maz- 
dakites. More than a hundred thousand communists were rounded 
up and their martyred bodies blackened the gibbets of the capital 
for weeks. Mazdak himself was seized and hanged, head down- 
wards, and his body shot through with arrows. No greater his- 
torical jest has ever been perpetrated than the bestowal of the title 
"Anushirwan" (the blessed, the just) upon the perpetrator of 
these inhuman cruelties. A few weeks after these wholesale exe- 
cutions, he put to death the life-long friends of his father, the 
grand vizier to whose eloquence he owed his throne and a host of 
veteran generals who had incurred his displeasure for some trifle. 



68G THE OPEN COURT. 



During these executions, a comet was seen in the heavens ac- 
companied by a remarkable paleness of the sun. b>om modern 
calculations we know that it was probably Halley's comet whose 
appearance had then been recorded for the fifth time in the history 
of civilization ; but the superstitious magi saw in its appearance a 
foreboding of ill-omen, pointing to Persia's ruin. Nor were the\ 
wrong in their prophecy. In the south, a new power was rising 
who, led by a new prophet, was destined to conquer the degenerated 
empires of Persia and Bysance. Before the century had drawn to 
its close, the Arabs, under the banner of Mohammed had invaded 
Svria and Irak. In 633 all Persia was under their heel. 



But the tenets of Mazdakian Communism did not perish with 
its founder. Three hundred years later (SOS) we find Haroun-al- 
Rashid and his son Mamun vainly contending with the Mazdakites 
in Azerbaijan and Media. Under the Caliph Motasim they waged 
a three-year war against Al-Islam and the Mohanuiiira ("Reds", 
"Redmakers") as the disciples of Mazdak had been either nick- 
named or called, nearly wrecked the Empire of the Abassides. 

"If you are a wise man. do not follow the path of Mazdak!" 
sang Firdousi ; but the poet lived in the shadow of the tyrant 
Mahmoud, whose dynasty was threatened by a powerful uprising 
of the KIwrrami or Khorramdini ("followers of the pleasant re- 
ligion"), a reincarnation of Mazdakites in the eleventh century. 

And now, after fifteen hundred years, we find the subversive 
teachings of Mazdak, rising phoenix-like from its ashes and fanned 
into a conflagration by the fierce Russian north wind. The com- 
munity of wealth and the abolition of privileged classes which he 
so earnestly advocated is again gaining adherents in central Asia ; 
but whether the present movement will be more successful than its 
l)redecessors. it is not within the province of a modest historian to 
prophesy. Qui vivra, I'crra! 



THE EVOLUTION OF EXPRESSED THOUGHT. 

BY F. W. FITZPATRICK. 

IN writing to a friend, did you ever stop to think how wonderful 
it is that you can thus convey to your friend the duphcation of 
your thoughts, the innermost workings of your mind? Probably 
you have not. Familiarity with wonderous things breeds a species 
of contempt for them. We accept writing and printing, travel by 
rapid train or in an automobile or aeroplane, the sending of wireless 
messages, all these things as mere matters of course, and marvel 
not. With writing it is much as with all the other inventions that 
have been carried to a high degree of perfection and simplicity. 
We are so far from the clumsy beginnings of the thing, we are so 
very familiar with it only in its perfected form, that few of us ever 
bother our minds as to how it came about or the steps through 
whicii it has progressed to its present perfected state. Had it not 
been for writing, "speaking signs'", in some form or other and of 
however rude a character, what would we know today of what took 
place yesterday or a hundred or a thousand years ago? Yet less 
than a century ago it was still impossible to write the correct his- 
tory of those signs, the forerunners, or the forebears, of our mod- 
ern writing ; but researchers into archeology, and learned philolo- 
gists have delved into the antiquities of Egypt, of the Orient, of 
Mexico, and the older civilizations, and have been able to decipher 
the meanings of the signs and writings they found, and have done 
it so well that today we have positive information where even but 
a few years ago all was conjecture. The findings of these men make 
interesting reading. 

In the earliest times, man sought to leave behind him or to 
communicate to his fellows his thought or a simple record of what 
he had done. To accomplish this he had recourse to the most ele- 
mentary means, fit only to give the slightest idea of the fact he 
wished to state. He associated the idea with the physical object made 
or observed by him. Later on, as he grew wiser, he discovered a 



688 THE OPEN COURT. 

mnemonical aid to his own remembrance of what he had done or to 
the perpetuation of tliat information to others in the shape of fash- 
ioning out of natural objects, boulders, tree limbs, etc., rude rep- 
resentations of this or that. Later still he began to draw rough 
outlines of animals or men, with dried clay, upon the smooth sur- 
face of rocks. Then he discovered several pigments, and filled in 
solidly with color between those outlines he had learned to draw. 

The artist, Alexander beautifully illustrates this process of 
evolution of the art of writing, or, as he shows it, printing, in his 
masterly series of paintings in the lobby of the Library of Congress 
at Washington. In one panel he depicts a lot of primitive men 
building up a heap of stones by the seaside, a "cairn" to mark the 
stage in the journey of that tribe. Li the next panel is shown an 
Arabian story-teller declaiming to his people "tradition". Follow- 
ing these panels is one wherein an Egyptian workman is cutting 
hieroglyphics over a portal to a temple ; then follows an American 
Indian "picture-writing" or telling the story of his people's wars by 
depicting warriors, horses, and arrows in distemper color upon the 
crudely dressed skin of a deer. Next is a monk in his cloister cell, 
patiently toiling away at illuminating a manuscript, telling us the 
story of the Middle Ages; and then comes Guttenburg and his 
assistants at work about his printing press, the most useful inven- 
tion of all times. 

But, to get back to our great-grandfathers' fore-fathers. From, 
drawing upon smooth surfaces, it was but a step to incising similar 
pictures with a sharp instrument upon trees, or even engraving them 
upon rocks. Some primitive tribes, however, had the draftsman's 
bump so little developed that they never got to the picture stage, 
but were content with certain rudimentary combinations of straight 
and oblique lines, that meant something to themselves, and that it 
has taken us an age and many sulphurous exclamations to decipher. 
They traced those lines upon skins and upon dried leaves, and did 
get far enough along to cut them into trees and rocks. Others 
used bits of grass-woven string, knotted here and there to mean 
certain things. The felUnv wlio ties a knot in his handkerchief to 
remember something he has to do during the day, is but reverting 
to the expedients of his ancient tribal forebears. 

Chinese tradition has it that this knotting of strings and also 
the cutting of little twigs to varying lengths originated in Hoango, 
and. as a matter of fact, the more or loss barbarous tribes, the 
Miaos and others of southwestern (hina, still use those modes of 



EVOLUTION OF EXPRESSED TITOUGIIT. 689 

communication. In Peru, under the Incas, knotted strings of dif- 
ferent lengths and colors were the mediums of a really high order 
of "speaking signs", in which much subtlety of expression was pos- 
sible. 

One of the sacred books of China, the Y-King, describes a lot 
of mysterious signs invented by their famed king, Fou-hi, that were 
nothing more than representations of knotted strings affixed to 
twigs that in turn were notched. These notched sticks, khi-mous, 
were used by the Tartar chiefs in transmitting their orders until 
the introduction of the ouigour alphabet of Syrian origin. When 
the Germanic peoples first became acquainted with the Latin letters, 
they called them buchstaben, associating them in their minds with 
the notched sticks of their ancestors. And the Scandinavians still 
have their bak-stafin, or divining-rods, undoubtedly traceable back 
to the same origin. 

Otir North American Indians intercommunicated, and recorded 
events, by means of as rudely drawn picture-signs as we were 
guilty of in our early childhood, before we graduated into the col- 
ored pencils and ground-glass stage of our existence. Yet they 
managed to convey much information by those self-same rough 
pictures, their history, their mythologies, their medicine prescrip- 
tions and a host of other matters. The farther south you trace 
these Indians the higher cultivation do you find, and the nearer ap- 
proach to refinement of expression as well as of execution in their 
pictures. When Cortez first penetrated into Mexico in 1519, he 
found that the people had carried their picture language to such 
perfection that it was indeed an art. In this ideographic painting, 
they used the same tropes and figures of thought as we do in 
speech, metaphor, metonymy and synecdoche. In that they re- 
sembled the Egyptians; could they have been of common origin? 
Both peoples used a part to represent a whole, or even an entire 
class. For instance, did they wish to convey the idea of retreat, 
they merely drew a lance or an arrow and a pair of human legs 
running from the lance. That was as clear to them and to our 
scientists today as if they had drawn two full bands of warriors, 
one fleeing from the other. Certainly it involved much less work, 
a sort of Pitman stenographic system, that gives us an arm brand- 
ising a sort of hatchet against another arm protected by a shield to 
show that such a man successfully withstood the attack of such 
another. This manner of abbreviation must not be confounded, 
however, with the Chinese hoei-i signs or combinations. The two 



tIDO THE OPEN COllRT. 

systems are radically dillerent. With the Chinese it was merely a 
qualification, a sort of constant adjective formation. With them a 
bird and a human mouth pictured together meant to sing ; an eye in 
water, tears ; an ear between two flaps of a screen door, to listen, etc. 

With the more cultivated nations, this picture language soon 
grew into a veritable science, too involved and subtle for the ordin- 
ary mortal ; it became the mode of communication between the 
official and the i)riestly classes, and its deciphering today involves 
the greatest research into, and most intimate familiarity with, their 
ways and ideas. Unless you know that they thought the vultiu'e 
bred from the female alone, how could you surmise that that bird 
was the Egyptian symbol of maternity? Or that the goose stood for 
filial devotion, if you had not learned that the Nile goose was sup- 
posed to care for the parent bird until the latter finally shuffled off 
into the green lotus fields of goose heaven? 

This picture painting and engraving was not only done upon 
rocks and tree trunks, but was used architecturally to decorate the 
portals of the temples ; in fact, whole fronts of buildings were so 
covered, and became lasting inscriptions ; aye, complete histories 
of the times and the people. But these were immovable books, so 
to speak. A demand arose for something that could be carried 
away if the people were attacked, or that could be moved if they 
found a more fertile country ; some durable record, but one that 
could be transported more easily than could a temple or a tree. So 
they took to drawing their figures upon dried skins, broad palm 
leaves, and rudely woven stuffs. Some enthusiasts, notably the 
Polynesians, used their own skin for that purpose. That, possibly, 
was the beginning of tattooing. Upon those stalwart islanders you 
could read the story of their lives, their feats of valor, their ex- 
ploits, even the records of their obligations and debts. We still 
brand our cattle with certain signs that set them apart as oufs, 
our sailormen still tattoo certain signs of their trade upon their 
chests and arms, and it was not so many centuries ago that oiu^ 
fathers branded criminals with a letter that stood for the crime of 
which they were found guilty. Some one has said that it takes 
a thousand generations to completely eradicate all trace of a cus- 
tom ! 

Soon these peoples, as conditions changed and civilization pro- 
gressed, wrote or made signs and figures more and more fref|uent- 
ly. uiilil b\ (linl of freedom in drawing, ])i"actice, and nnich ab- 
brc\ i.'ition. tlu-y rcduci-d ihcir dilTcrcnt series of figures to merest 



EVOLUTION OF RXPRRSSF.n THOUGHT. (i!)l 

signs, a system almost tachygraphic, and to us, at this date, bearing 
little resemblance to the forms they are supposed to represent. They 
grow more and more cursive. Witness the hieratic writing upon 
some of the older papyri. This again was improved upon, and all 
semblance to the old forms is lost in the writings we find that were 
executed under the later Pharaohs and Ptolemies, demotic writing. 

In China these picture-signs were even more conventionalized 
than among the Egyptians or Mexicans. They became mere up 
and down strokes, with a few side ones thrown in to keep peace 
in the family. The writing ceased to be figurative to become pure- 
ly semiographic or formations representing clusters of ideas or 
ideograms. And thence grew the cuneiform writing, each sign 
bearing- no longer any semblance to a picture, but having a defined 
value mnemonically, and many of them even phonetically. 

We are passing from one system to another, — half an hour to 
cover all of them ! Do you want an idea of the time taken for the 
evolution of picture writing? From the time we know some peo- 
ples were using it — there is every reason to suppose, too, that others 
used it centuries before that — to the period we have just glanced at, 
when it began to be cumbersome and grew into cuneiform and 
other conventional lines, over fifteen centuries had elapsed. 

Our scholars have deciphered nearly all of these forms, ex- 
cepting only the Hittite inscriptions and the katoun signs upon 
some of the Yucatan monuments that still remain closed books to 
them and, needless to add, spurs to redoubled efforts toward get- 
ting at their true meaning. 

It is an interesting but too long a task to trace this transition, 
where a sign ceases to represent a real object and simply recalls 
to mind the sound of the word that has been selected as its name, 
all through the inscriptions and papyri and clay tablets of the 
Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Chinese, the Babylonians, and the 
Medes. 

The Chinese language and writing of today has grown but lit- 
tle from that old form. They have no grammar, at least as we 
understand the term ; a word can mean twenty different things, de- 
pendent upon its position in a sentence. And so it is with the old 
phonetic writing. A sign meant this or that dependent upon its 
position with other signs ; and then again minor signs accompanied 
it to still further explain it. Note the terra-cotta tablets found at 
Nineveh ; they are veritable graphic concordances. There are three 
columns of signs: the central one is composed of the cuneiform 



692 THE OPEN COURT. 

characters to be explained, the cohimn to the left gives the pho- 
netic form, and that to the right the Assyrian equivalent. 

The Egyptians were the first to drift into some semblance of 
an alphabet system, but they gave up their old ideographic forms 
most reluctantly, and only because commercial and other necessities 
demanded the clearer, and in every way better mode of intercom- 
munication ; for those old forms had religious and historical signi- 
ficance, and, in some cases, were really objects of veneration. In- 
deed, some of them were believed to have been revealed to them 
directly by their great god, Thoth ! 

Such transitions were easier far to a people less susceptible 
to the claims of tradition. The Japanese, for instance, about the 
third century of our era, borrowed, we may say, the Chinese lan- 
guage in its entirety. They took its idioms and syllables and com- 
jjaratively new form of alphabet, impressed upon all of these their 
own phonetic sounds, and where the Chinese used but monosyllables, 
they, a polysyllabic people, fixed up the words of more than one 
syllable by as many single signs as they had syllables and for cen- 
turies have gotten along with the old manyo-kana of the forty- 
seven borowed Chinese characters. 

But we are getting ahead of our story. 

The Mexicans, the Chinese, and the Assyrians did not get 
beyond the idea of a syllable. The Egyptians went marching on. 
They conceived the notion of letters that represented not only 
vowel but consonants, a sort of abstraction of the vocal sounds that 
allowed of what might be called "clearer motion". Their vowels, 
as we may notice in the Coptic of our own time, were vague sounds. 

The Phenicians completed the work, and gave the world an 
alphabet of twenty-two letters, a dozen of which may be traced 
Ijack to the old hieratic writing of two thousand years before our 
era. 

All the modern alphabets, excepting perhaps the Korean, — 
that takes its characters from the earliest Chinese figures, — are 
Canaanitish in their derivation, and it is well established that the 
Phenician alphabet is the male ancestor of all the alphabets of 
luirope and Asia. 

The most archaic of (Irecian alphabets, attril)uted by them a-^ 
a heavenly invention of that fabulous personage, Cadmus, are mani- 
festly borrowed from Pheiiicia. 'i'he oldest Creek alphabet thai 
we know of, that given us in the inscriptions found upon the island 
of 'I'hcra, daling back to tlic eighth century before Christ, i)roves 



EVOLUTION OF EXPRESSED THOUGHT. 093 

this most conclusively. The Greeks soon nioditied these configura- 
tions and characters, and before long their writing lost all sem- 
blance to its prototype. The Greeks always were great fellows to 
borrow something particularly good from their neighbors, and then 
perfect it to the point where the lender could not recognize it. 

At first they, like the Phenicians, wrote from right to left. Then 
they took the notion to write the first line from right to left, the 
next one from left to right, and following down so, alternately, 
first one way and then the next. Presumably they did that to 
imitate as nearly as they could on a flat surface the serpent-like 
inscriptions they were then engraving on their vases, beginning at 
the top at the right and winding on down around and around. 
Later they adopted the left-to-right system altogether. Kirchhoff 
has cleared up many cloudy points about the early Greek writing, 
how those in the West adopted an alphabet of twenty-five letters, 
while those of the East stuck to their original twenty-six, the 
lonians using but twenty-four, whereas the Eolo-Dorian alphabet 
had twenty-eight. About the fifth century before our era, and as 
a conseqeuence perhaps of a great convention of school-teachers 
( ?) , they abandoned all these different alphabets, to settle upon 
one, a modified Ionian of twenty-four letters, and made it the 
standard for all Greece. 

The Hellenic colonies that settled in Sicily and toward the 
center of Italy, carried thither their Eolo-Dorian alphabet, and it 
is the root of the Etruscan and Latin alphabets from which all 
western European alphabets have sprung. 

If you have time and opportunity, follow the Phenician in- 
spiration, as it might be called, through all those early ramifications. 
You will be able to trace it through the famed inscriptions of 
Mescha, the king of Moab ; that other inscription you will find 
upon each of the bronze and iron weights of Nimrod, and that 
inscription upon the sarcophagus of Eschmounasar in the Louvre. 
You can trace it down all through the Semitic writing and the 
early Hebrew, — not that square Hebrew we are used to and dates 
back only to the first century of our own era, but the good old He- 
brew untainted by Greek and other Gentile influences. 

The Syrians were the first to join their characters together as 
we do in writing, and from them sprang the Auranian and Sabian 
alphabets, examples of which writing we have in the inscriptions 
found about Sinai : they, in turn, were the progenitors of the Arab 



69-t THE OPEN COURT. 

alphabet that. unchany:ed today, is used in the later magnificent 
manuscripts, the veskhk or "copyists' alphabet". 

The inlkience of this Syrian formation is seen even in the 
Chinese and other Oriental alphabets. In the seventh century 
A. D.. certain Xestorian monks penetrated into Tartary and did 
much to improve if not chanj^e the people's inscription of Si-ngua- 
fou. The Mongols. Alanchus. and Kalmucks followed suit. 

Interesting, but too confusing and long;, are the twistings and 
turnings of the Phenician root through the magadhic and other 
alphabets of India, of X^umidia, and of Ethiopia. Xor can we 
take the time to even glance at Zendish. the Pahlavic, the Him- 
yaritic, and the other thousand and one subdivisions of our subject. 

As peoples and religions grew in strength, so, in the same 
ratio, was their mode of writing learned by or imposed upon other 
peoples ; hence it is that one epoch in history shows the preponder- 
ance of one system or language over that of another, perhaps in- 
ferior to the former. It was evolution, if you wish, but not an 
evolution based upon scientific progression. Now no nation pene- 
trated further into the "contiguous territory of the enemy" than 
did the Romans so it can not matter for much surprise that the 
Latin alphaliet was carried so far and wide. And where it was 
not imjilanted on the point of the lance as it were, made the "offi- 
cial" alphabet of the conquered region, it was more peacefully in- 
troduced by the apostles and early missionaries of the church. 

The formation and application of the Latin alphabet, with its 
resultant writing, may be divided into three sections for our study. 
The first comprises the period from its beginning up the thirteenth 
century A. D. ; the second on up to the sixteenth century; and the 
third to our own times. 

During the first, and much of the second period, capitals were 
used in all inscriptions upon all coins and other important places, 
but they had lost much of their majestic form and regularity ; they 
hardly bore any resemblance to the fine old lettering found upon the 
friezes of the earlier temples and basilicae. They became well 
named ; they were called "rustic". To hide the fact that people 
could not draw them as accurately as of old. the corners were 
rounded ofl', exaggerated tails were fixed, and nnich flourishing 
was resorted to. Resides, nuich less ca])italization was used ; little 
letters predominated in the manuscripts of that ])eriod. The goosc- 
(|uill came into Use about the seventh century and was responsible 
for mucli ein-si\e, scratcln writing. 



EVOLUTION OF EXPRESSED THOUGHT. 695 

The second period might be called a perfecting, upon almost 
entirely new lines, of the first's debased forms. What we call the 
"Gothic", a really pretty writing, came into vogue. It lent itself 
admirably to the art of the illuminator, who reached the very top- 
most rung of the ladder of perfection in the fifteenth century. The 
missals and Bibles and public documents, yes, even the private let- 
ters done by the scribes of those days, were marvels of pictorial as 
well as of chirographic art. 

The multiplicity of deeds and other legal forms, the exigencies 
of commerce, and the growing tendency to record events and im- 
pressions, and the awakening of the people from the literary 
lethargy of the Middle Ages, impelled inventors to devise some- 
thing easier, cheaper, and quicker than fingers and pens to make 
books and copies. Guttenberg supplied the needed improvement, 
and from his time may be dated the downfall of writing as an art. 
Stenography and the typewriter have completed the work. 

Some scientists are craning their necks awaiting the coming of 
some new form of writing or alphabet. They argue that we have 
reached but another step in the evolution of language and expres- 
sion ; that Volapuk, Esperanto, or some other mode of expression 
and signs not now thought of, will be the perfected outcome of 
their efforts. Our best authorities agree, however, that we have 
built the completed structure, that nothing better can be done. We 
may devise new and more rapid typesetting processes, and speak 
into phonographs that will reel off finished books at the other end, 
but our alphabet, our expression, our form of speech and its re- 
duction to legible duplication can not be improved upon. And 
why are they not right? Is it not so with art. for instance? We 
have photography, engraving, lithograph, for reproducing pictures ; 
automatic tools, pneumatic carving appliances for statuary, wonder- 
ful facilities for building that our fathers knew not of; but I think 
the reader will agree with me that the limit of perfection and 
beauty and originality in painting, in sculpture and in architecture 
was reached some time ago. 

At times it is with regret that I contemplate all this typewrit- 
ing and printing and dictation to feminine or mechanical ears. It 
all robs us of the great advantage there used to be in "reading 
writing". As we can trace the civilization and refinement of the 
early races through their inscriptions and papyri, so we used to 
be able to trace the characteristics, the nature, the very thoughts 
almost of our correspondents when they used to write to us. To- 



690 THE OPEX COURT. 

day all letters are tlie same, they all wear the blue ur green masked 
type-face and are words, merely words ! The character, the soul 
is not there. I have before me, as I write — I am an old-fashioned 
fellow and have not yet learned the new-fangled typewriting or 
dictation system, and may I long be preserved from it ! — the origin- 
al or fac-simile writing of many celebrities, and how clearly that 
writing shows me their personality ; writing is indeed an open book 
with double indexes to character. There is the small, neat and 
legible handwriting of Grover Cleveland. You think a great man, 
a big man in every sense of the word, must needs write a great 
dashing hand? Not at all. Look at that writing. To the un- 
initiated it looks "clerky". It is the writing of a thinker, an origin- 
al thinker, a man who can and will do big things and who brooks 
no opposition while he is doing them. Another writing not unlike 
this is Edison's, small and almost "copper plate'' in its regularity, 
and the two men are not unlike. There is Sarah Bernhardt's, writ- 
ten not a year ago, getting a wee bit shaky, but still the scratchy, 
nervous jabs of genius. See how dissimilar is Chamberlain's from 
Salisbury's; and could two men be more unlike? Note the pains- 
taking and exact yet sure writing of Pasteur and Jules \"erne's is 
of the same order ; the gentlemanly and self-satisfied writing of 
Lowell, and who would take Thomas Carlyle's writing for anyone's 
else or for writing at all for that matter? And Robespierre's and 
Napoleon's, the lamented Victoria's and McKinley's, and Hanna's 
and the rest of them, the mighty ones ; interesting all, and sad the 
thought that this art of writing is so fast becoming obsolete. Scarce 
have we a man's signature now to gauge his character by; and 
what will future generations do when they wish to trace this or 
that trait through the present age. when they have nothing to judge 
by, save the everlasting same Remington or L^nderwood or Smith, 
or the hundred other indistinguishable blue or black, English, 
Erench. German or Italian marks we are making today? Mere 
"speaking signs" indeed. 



THE MEANING OF LIBERAL STUDY. 

BY HENRY BRADFORD SMITH. 

THE historical connotations, which words acquire, yield many 
times a true insight into the habits of men's thought. The 
word "liberal" in its origin and, when attached to a substantive, 
means "free". When is an intellectual pursuit free, catholic, hu- 
mane, disinterested? Such synonymes are often used to suggest a 
meaning when analysis has failed, but suggestions they remain, as 
prone to lead us astray as they are to clarify our thinking. 

They point, however, to distinctions, which may well be con- 
sidered in their turn. An insight is catholic, when it is alive to 
more than a single point of view and when it is aware that points 
of view conflict. One possesses this trait, if he can step into an- 
other's boots, if he can with sympathy look out upon the world 
through other men's spectacles. If our souls were less intimately 
chained to our corporeal being and could from time to time take 
up their abode in other clay, prejudice would no doubt be moderated 
and that decentralization of the ego, which is the first condition of 
a catholic taste, would be supremely aided. 

A mind's attitude is humane, when it has come to rate its own 
point of view as of no more worth than that of other minds. It 
may rate its own opinion higher than another's but not because it 
is its own. A not uncommon illusion is that one which tells us that 
there is something unique about our private insights and it is this 
illusion, which a humane culture will dissipate. 

The pursuit of truth is disinterested when it has ceased to serve 
and gratify our merely private desires. A condition of this pur- 
suit is a recognition that the order of nature does not invariably 
conform to human wishes, that this order possesses a dignity that 
surpasses one's own small place in the world, that demands, accor- 
ingly, something that approaches an absolute respect. 



698 THE OPEN COURT. 

Our tentative analysis, then, yields this result : A man is free 
in so far as this decentralization of himself has been profoundly 
brought about and liberal studies are precisely those best calculated 
to produce this same etl'ect. It is clear that our list of liberal pur- 
suits will contain none that produce merely vocational aptitudes, 
for these have an eye to private and, indirectly, an eye to public 
advantage of a different sort. A man may gain his private aims the 
more effectually because of a liberal education or he may renounce 
his private aims the more intelligently for the like reason. It is not 
the purpose of a liberal education, if our analysis be correct, to 
effect these or any other concrete ends. Rather it will leave the 
result in the case of each one the less determinable, the less easy to 
predict. In a word it w'ill leave one free. It will provide one with 
so many sided an outlook upon the world, that his decision to make 
of himself what he will, will be based upon what may fairly be 
called a rational ground. He will have become a responsible agent 
and will accept the consequences of his decision as those of his 
own choosing. 

Suppose on the other hand that the public curriculum has be- 
come "vocationalized", in recognition of the fact that the majority 
can never receive a liberal training. You propose to prepare this 
child, who is the father of the man, for "life", you say. Yea, for 
life, but not for a life of his own choosing. You have got hold of 
him, too young to judge, and by a special education, you have set- 
tled his destiny in advance, you have made the possibility of future 
choice al)ortive. This is the essential sin against the holy spirit of 
man. It is also the stuff of which social revolutions are made, for 
deep down in his heart he will harbor his resentment. His destin\- 
has not been one of his own making and he is in no way bound to 
accept its consequences. In point of fact where lies the richest soil 
for social unrest? Is it not among the class of vocationally trained, 
who feel that they have been some how deprived of their spiritual 
birthright? In this direction lies one of the most deep-seated causes 
of moral discontent. 

Liberal studies then are those that produce the free man and the 
free man is he who can justify his acts and in some sense his very 
destiny on rational grounds. .Sujiposc a man. who is h\- tempera- 
ment a non-conformist, inijielled to oppose some social convention 
which he judges to be false. His effort fails and the comniunit\' 
regards him as a ciaiik. That is to say, he is rated not a person 
of sane judgment and so not as a free man, but rathei" as the \ictini 



THE MEANING OF LIBERAL STUDY. (>!)!> 

of his own misguided temperament. The man himself, however, 
knows his family history. He reflects that his father and some of his 
remoter ancestors had experiences like his own ; that they not in- 
frequently espoused a cause which failed at first but which 
triumphed in the end. "I am a chip of the old block", he says to 
himself and finds no little satisfaction in the thought. And why? 
P)ecause his own behavior is no longer an isolated fact. It has been 
rationalized because shown to be a case of something that is operat- 
ing in a universal sense. He is so far a free man and a responsible 
being because he has given his act an abstract meaning. Everyone 
who commits a crime will attempt a moral justification, because 
behavior that has not been rationalized is not the behavior of a free 
agent. The adolescent child would be less troubled by the emotions 
which stir him, if he should understand that they are normal con- 
comitants of his development. 

Royce somewhere remarks in substance, that it is those mis- 
fortunes of life that cannot be foreseen, wdiich particularly dis- 
courage us — those slips of destiny, the fruit of a seemingly hard and 
unrelenting providence. A man must be an optimist indeed, who 
imagines that scientific prophesy will one day banish all the tragedy, 
with which our common human nature is beset. Now liberal studies 
are those which create the free man and they do this by saving him 
from the grasp of grosser circumstance. They prepare for life but 
for no particular life, for no special vocation. Their applications 
will, accordingly, be incidental to their pursuit and not ends in them- 
selves. They will purport to furnish a general theory of the uni- 
verse, to which the particularities of daily life may be attached. 
The world of common experience is a collection of concrete ob- 
jects largely out of conscious relation to one another. The liberally 
trained mind is forever seeking out the connections of things, unit- 
ing the discreet parts of the world in one intelligible whole, in- 
terpolating, filling in, creating continuity, bringing individual facts 
under an abstract point of view. 

It is clear that our list of liberal studies will contain besides the 
philosophical disciplines the pure as well as the experimental sciences. 
But it will not be manifest that literature in its various forms will 
fall within the scope of our definition. A few considerations, how- 
ever, will be enough to show that such is really the case. De 
Quincey was fond of distinguishing between what he termed the 
literature of knowledge and the literature of i)ower. It is the litera- 
ture of power that stirs the fancy, that gives wing to the imagina- 



TOO THE OPEN COURT. 

tion of man. But this distinction is relative, for be it known that 
every act of knowing is as much an act of the imagination as the 
recognition of a fact. There is a deal of knowledge which cannot 
be expressed in the technical language of a science, for example, 
those insights into human nature which satire reveals. Such truths 
are but partially expressed, they may even remain inarticulate, in 
the absence of any genuinely literary art. Insight and the art of ex- 
pression must go hand in hand. A good style is so far a wasted ac- 
quisition if it be not the instrument of a fine intellect. 

The disinterested interest in truth for its own sake, which it is 
the end of a liberal training to awaken and foster in each man, is 
in some rough sense a measure of his intellectual power, for it feeds 
upon success. A liberal training is a voyage of discovery among 
the islands of abstraction, among the facts and fancies of the rep- 
resentative intellect. F"or the most the routes are charted in ad- 
vance. The traveler must serve his nautical apprenticeship before 
he ventures into unknown seas. The higher adventures reserve 
themselves for those who have the will to seek them out and the wit 
to carry them through. 

But tlie disinterested interest in truth for its own sake is more 
than all this. It is the very soul and substance of our human pro- 
gress. Had the Greek geometers professed no curiosity in the 
properties of conic sections, the science of navigation and many 
another science would not have been born. There was no domain 
in the vast regions of pure and applied mathematics, which Carl 
l'>iedrich Gauss did not enrich with his masterly contributions but 
he was impatient of the demand that theory should justify itself by 
applications. "No one, thank God, has yet been able to apply his 
knowledge practically in this field", he said in substance of that non- 
Euclidean geometry, whose existence he was the first to recognize 
and whose content he was the first to develop. The work of Mar- 
coni became possible for the first time, when the theoretical labors of 
I'araday, Maxwell and Hertz had been consumated. The American 
genius for practical inventions, of which we are prone to boast 
over-much, depends upon scientific research, which calls for genius 
of a rarer sort. Industrial triumphs occur as almost necessary 
incidents, when liberal knowledge has reached its full fruition. 

Tfxlay we profess an unbounded faith in the power of public 
education to cure our social ills, but wc may well fear lest the stream 
become polluted, 'i'hc more enlightened men arc the more free 
will they becKinc. The eighteenth century, a lime in which so much 



TIIR MEANING OF TJBERAT. STUDY. 



701 



of our political liberty was won, might yield us many a warning. 
That supreme optimist, the Frenchman Condorcet, says: "Po- 
litical enlightenment is the immediate sequence of the progress of 
the sciences". But "let us not challenge the oppressors (the princes) 
to league themselves together against reason; let us carefully con- 
ceal from them the close and inevitable connection between enlight- 
enment and liberty ; let us not teach them beforehand that a nation 
free from prejudice soon becomes a free nation." 



P 



I 



NEW ALTARS. 

BY ETIIET. TALBOT SCHEFFAUER. 

She with her iron hands 

To whom the peoples bowed. 
Throned above all the lands, 

Once called aloud: 

Bring unto me the young men, 
With flowers and with mirth, 

Bold songs shall be sung then 
In all the earth. 

Honor and fame will I buy them, 
They that are young and brave, 

After, I will deny them 
Even a grave. 

They shall be flung like rain 
Over the wailing groimd — 

None of tliese many slain 
Shall more be found. 

And men came to her altars, 

Young men and old. 
And women with fiery ])salters 

And flowers and gold. 

Fools, caught by her wonder, 
Thronging over the lands, 

Saw not her claws of jilunder^ 
Nor her iron hands. 



NEW ALTARS. I 0;{ 

The blood-wave heavy and tidal, 

Swept over many a race. 
Would it had taken the Idol 

And rolled her from her place! 

That the repentant nations, 

Slowly, each one alone, 
Might seek in forgotten patience, 

Stone by stone. 

Slabs for the new altar 

Where the new god shall reign, 
Before whom the old gods falter, 

Hallowing his fane. 

Whose words are pity and sorrow, 

Whose words can build 
The temple of to-morrow 

For freedom's guild. 

With no mistrust of a neighbor. 

Nor hate, nor envy, nor fear — 
A white altar of labor, 

A gold altar of cheer — 

An altar of freedom and peace. 

Glowing out of the sand. 
And bidding the tumults cease 

In every land. 

This is the new fane, 

With tears of longing wet — 
But the peoples hope in vain, 

For none is building vet. 



704 THE OPEN COURT. 



MISCELLANEOUS 

BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTES. 

L' Evangile Armenien: edition phototyphique du manuscrit No. 229 
de la Bibliotheque d'Etchmiadzin. Publiee sous les auspices de M. Leon 
Mantacheff. Par Frederic Macler. Paris: Geuthner, 1920, 4to., pp. 
27+464. 

Another Gospel study of 1914 has reached us at last. Professor 
Macler, of the National School of Living Eastern Languages, has given 
us the famous manuscript of 989, in the Patriarchal Library of the 
Armenian Church on Mount Ararat. This is the codex v^^hich inserts 
the words, "Presbyter Ariston's" between Mark xvi, 8 and 9, thus ascrib- 
ing the spurious Appendix to another hand. The significance of this 
has been already well debated, and the latest authority, Clarence 
Williams, discounts the insertion on the score of the late date and its 
utter isolation in the Armenian records. It is, he thinks, the remark of 
a reader of Eusebius, and this is in line with a similar remark, in a 
London manuscript, on the Adultery Section in John, ascribing it to 
the Syrian Gospel and the influence of Papias. 

The present codex is the first to introduce the Mark Appendix and 
the Adultery Section in John into the Armenian Holy Gospel. Apart 
from these additions, the manuscript belongs to the ancient type, 
omitting "Son of God" in Mark I.l, the Bloody Sweat in Luke, the angel 
stirring up the water (John v. 4) and of course the double refrain 
about the undying worm (Mark ix. 44 and 46). The Adultery Section 
in John it has in an unusual form, and we already knew that this 
apocryphal paragraph was liable to such free treatment. 

Professor Macler, in 1919, also published the Armenian text of 
Matthew and Mark (Annales du Musee Guimet, Bibliotheque d'Etudes, 
Vol. 28), but no copy has yet reached me. 

ALBERT J. EDMUNDS. 



EVOLUIlONflRY NATURALISM 

BY 
ROY WOOD SELLARS, Ph. a 

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 
350 pp., Cloth, Price $2.50 

"The aim of the present investigation is to work out in a systematic fashion 
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RELIGIONS, ANCIENT AND MODERN 

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Animism 

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Pantheism 

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Hinduism 

By Dr. L. D. Barnett, of the Depart- 
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Religion of Ancient China 

By Prof. Herbert A. Giles, LL. D., 
Professor of Chinese at Cambridge Uni- 
versity, England. 

Religion of Ancient Greece 

By Jane Harrison, Lecturer at Newn- 
ham College, Cambridge, England. 

Religion of Babylonia and As- 
syria 
By Theophilus G. Pinches, late of the 

British Aluseum. 

Religion of Ancient Scandinavia 

By W. A. Craigie, M. A., Tayloriaii 
Lecturer in Oxford University, England. 

Religions of Ancient Egypt 

By W. M. Flinders Petrie, D. C. L., 
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Celtic Religion 

By Edward Anwyl, Professor of 
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with. 

Religion of Ancient Rome 

By Cyril Bailey, M. A., Balliol College, 
Oxford, England. 



Mythologies of Ancient Mexico 
and Peru 
By Lewis Spence. 

Mythology of Ancient Britain 

and Ireland 

By Charles Squire, author of "The 
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Islam 

By Ameer Ali, Syed, M. A., C. I. E., 
late Judge of His Majesty's High Court 
of Judicature in Bengal. 

Early Buddhism 

By T. W. Rhys Davids, LL. D., Ph. D. 

Judaism 

By Israel Abrahams, M. A., Lecturer 
in Talmudic Literature Cambridge Uni- 
versity, England. 

Psychological Origin and Na- 
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By James Leuba, Bryn Mawr College. 

Religion of Ancient Palestine 
By Stanley A. Cook, M. A. 

Shinto, the Ancient Religion of 
Japan 
By W. G. Aston, C. M. G., D. Lit. 

Early Christianity 

By S. B. Slack, M. A. 

Magic and Fetishism 

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University Lecturer in Ethnology, Cam- 
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Mithraism 

By W. J. Phythian-Adams. 



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THE EARLY MATHEMATICAL 
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PUBLISHED BY CARL IMMANUEL GERHARDT. TRANSLATED FROM THE 
LATIN TEXTS WITH CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL NOTES 

By J. M. CHILD 

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A study of the early mathematical work of Leibniz seems to be of importance for at 
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AND OTHER ESSAYS 

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LIFE ETERNAL 

PAST — PRESENT — FUTURE 

By BARTHELEMY PROSPER ENFANTIN 

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Enfantin, born in 1796, was one of the founders of French Socialism. 
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PARACELSUS 

HIS PERSONALITY AND INFLUENCE AS A PHYSICIAN, 
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Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, called Paracelsus, is one 
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A History of the Conceptions of Limits 

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Newton to Woodhouse 

By FLORIAN CAJORI, Ph. D. 

Professor of History of Mathematics in the University of California 

With Portraits of Berkeley and Maclaurin. 
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The Philosophical Writings of 
Richard Burthogge 

Edited with Introductions and Notes by 

MARGARET W. LANDES 

Wellesley College 

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^ I ^HE re-discovery of a seventeenth-century English 
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THE GOSPEL OF BUDDHA 

By PAUL CARUS 

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JUST PUBLISHED 

A Christian's Appreciation of Other Faiths 

By 

REV. GILBERT REID, D. D. 

Author of China at a Glance 

China Captive or Free, Etc. 

Cloth, $2.50 Pages 360 

Dr. Reid is the Director of the International Institute of 
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